The landscapes were in my arms as I did it.

(Helen Frankenthaler, 1965)

Life is hard; we all know it. Over time, the beach has come to serve as a universal symbol for escaping the doldrums of day-to-day existence– It’s something to look forward to and daydream about. Whether our fantasies involve laying idly in the sand for hours catching the sun or playing in the surf, the seashore is an accessible utopia for most.

Matthew F Fisher routinely explores the beach as a metaphor for paradise in his hyper-detailed, tightly-rendered paintings, but something more psychological and dreamlike has been unleashed, or summoned, by the artist recently. Stretches of finely painted sand specks still mesmerize, and sumptuous curlicues form where his waves join the shoreline in a dance, but the meditative calm of the beach has transitioned into something more wild, otherworldly and occasionally menacing.

Acid-hued skies have drifted in over rolling waves falling out of step with one another. Dark walls of rock emerge silhouetted against the sea, looming in the distance like sirens hoping to lure us in with tidily-organized temptations: seahorses, intricate shells, and glistening pearls. But no one is there to accept these strange offerings. All of Fisher’s paintings are devoid of humans, and the quietly psychedelic scenes depicted bear no scars of our interventions. This is the natural world before our time, or possibly after its conclusion, in its most pristine and undisturbed state. Like a harbinger of things to come, the scenes gently remind us that our days are numbered and the world will undoubtedly go on without us, likely in a more sustainable and beautiful way.

Matthew F Fisher (b. 1976 in Boston, MA) currently lives and works in New York City. Fisher has exhibited nationally and internationally, with solo exhibitions at Ochi Projects, Los Angeles, CA; Shrine, New York, NY; Taymour Grahne, London, UK; Johansson Projects, Oakland, CA and Over Under Room, Brooklyn, NY among others.