Medical science meets abstract art

By Jordan Bradley
One of Beverly Fishman\'s pieces from her Broad exhibit, \"Focus.\" Courtesy photo.

Detroit artist examines society’s obsession with medicine

Tuesday, Sept. 24 — Overmedicated and underwhelmed, our culture has an undeniable obsession with pharmacists and prescription medication. Beverly Fishman presents her bizarre, but captivating commentary in vivid large scale on stainless steel planes. On Friday, the Broad Art Museum will unveil Fishman’s latest exhibit, consisting of three paintings.

Fishman is the artist-in-residence at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills. She has exhibited in New York, London, Berlin, Paris and many other places around the U.S. Her work focuses on the relationship people have with medicine and how it is the go-to solution for mental and physical problems, leaving overly active children prescribed to Ritalin at a young age among other issues.

At 6 p.m. Friday, Fishman will discuss her pieces followed by a reception at 7 p.m. Both are free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through Jan. 5.

“Beverly Fishman’s work addresses the multiple layers of the museum’s mission to examine the political and social issues confronting our community through the eyes of artists,” said Broad curator Alison Gass. “(Her work) is an exciting and vibrant choice for the museum.”

Gass said Fishman’s work was chosen to be exhibited because of its strong art historical themes, “the state of abstract painting in the 21st century,” and social and political themes relevant to the community.

Last August, Fishman exhibited “Pill Spill” at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The piece consisted of about 60 brightly colored large glass pills. The patterns and colors of the pills are similar in style to the large-scale works she will be exhibiting at the Broad.

Fishman’s art utilizes medical representations of human beings, like EKGs, EEGs, transcribed medical records and neuron pike readouts. Pill shapes and bar codes ominously loom in the background. These pieces combine to create complex and colossal abstract paintings.