Louise Fishman, whose stylish paintings synthesized modernist abstraction with her identity as a queer Jewish feminist, died in New York on Monday at 82. A representative for Karma, the New York gallery that represents her, confirmed her death.
“The world has lost a formidable painter, activist and friend, whose pursuit of individual freedom and personal expression was her primary motivation as an artist,” Karma wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. “Her death leaves a tremendous void in the art world.”
At first glance, Fishman’s abstractions, many of which feature dense layerings of thick strokes arranged in all-over compositions, appear to be in line with those of white male painters of the first half of the 20th century. Yet Fishman’s paintings tweak those artists’ formulae in subtle yet profound ways, showing how a gestural paint stroke could be intimately connected to one’s identity. In the postwar era, Abstract Expressionists engineered