Ceramic artist Nancy Fischman to discuss her process during Arts on the Side Aug. 1

Nancy Fischman

The Arts Center is pleased to announce the return of its monthly lunchtime series, Arts on the Side, this Tuesday, Aug. 1, at noon. The public is invited to bring a "brown bag" lunch on the first Tuesday of each month and enjoy a free concert or art demonstration.

Nancy Fischman, a Johnson City-based artist whose work is currently on exhibit at The Arts Center, will lead an informal talk about her craft and her process. Fischman, who holds a master's degree in geography from East Tennessee State University, puts art under a microscope, somewhat literally, with her ceramic art. Her collection of work, "Surface Geographies: An Altered Point of View," is an artistic depiction of scientific study. The shapes and forms in the pottery are inspired by biological matter viewed through a telescope, and landscape patterns seen from afar.

Fischman was born in New York City and raised near the city. She was close enough to visit museums, go to concerts, see plays, and take piano lessons. She especially enjoyed visiting the ancient civilization museum collections with reconstructed ancient pottery and more contemporary crafts exhibits. Exposure to the arts at an early age made her a lifelong fan.

The artist moved with her husband to Johnson City in 1978. With an undergraduate degree in geography, she earned a master's degree in that field from East Tennessee State University. She has worked for the City of Kingsport; The Road Company, a not-for-profit professional theater company in Johnson City as development director; and as managing editor for Now & Then magazine, published by the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services at ETSU. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, most recently for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and the Johnson City Area Arts Council.

While she was studying for her master's degree, Fischman took pottery classes with Jonesborough potter, Gary Gearhart. At the age of 60, she signed up for a class at ETSU with Don Davis and began to create pottery in earnest. Study of several contemporary artists led her to Peter Voulkos and his dramatic clay constructions. The use of distorted wheel-thrown work altered and added onto intrigued her and she began experimenting with slab constructions, creating a series of bottle forms.

Fischman takes inspiration from rock formations and stone circles, European tile roofs, and golden rays swimming just under the surface of the ocean. Her most recent work uses aerial landscape patterns and electron micro-photographs of plant material as inspiration.

"I look for edges and lines connecting one surface to another," she said. "I find interest in natural and man-made architectural forms, the way surfaces meet and intersect through planes and edges. My forms are constrained, yet loose - with non-symmetrical shapes and unrefined rims."

Cindy Saadeh Fine Art in Kingsport and the Museum Store at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Va., carry Fischman's work. She is a member of the Northeast Chapter of Tennessee Craft and has participated in group shows at Jonesborough Fine Art in the Park, the Johnson City Area Arts Council Gallery, Nelson Fine Art in Johnson City, Slocumb Gallery and the Reece Museum at ETSU, Kingsport's Carousel Fine Art Show, and Journeys of Women, an invitational show produced by the East Tennessee Foundation's Women's Fund of East Tennessee. She had a one-woman show at William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Va., in 2015.

"Surface Geographies" remains on display through Aug. 25 at The Arts Center, located at 320 North White Street in Downtown Athens.

For more information about this or any AACA program, contact The Arts Center by phone at 423-745-8781, visit athensartscouncil.org, or stop by The Arts Center.

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