VERNON FISHER at Talley Dunn in Dallas

Vernon Fisher, 200 Numbered Rectangles, 1989, 90 x 95 inches, oil & acrylic on canvas

On a recent brief trip to Dallas, I had the opportunity to catch an exhibition of paintings by Vernon Fisher at the Talley Dunn Gallery (through August 20, 2011). The six large works in the show are all from the '90s and late '80s, probably chosen to augment his big retrospective that closed last month at the Fort Worth Modern. These relatively direct pieces represent a tiny slice of a sprawling and complex body of work that has spanned 40 years, and continues to press on. Fusing brilliantly conceived narratives and an encyclopedic stash of images with a sensuous painterly touch and formal eloquence, Vernon's work dives into a churning sea of information and sensation, exploring the apparent randomness of human experience and the alchemical nature of art-making. He is one of the most under-appreciated artists out there, consistently creating expansive scenarios that challenge our assumptions about reality, and make us smile at the absurdity of our earnestness.

Vernon Fisher, Fleet, 1998, 84 x 84 inches, oil & acrylic on canvas

Vernon Fisher, Swimming Against the Tide for Relaxation, 1994, 72 x 108 inches, oil & acrylic on canvas

Vernon Fisher, Bitter Future, 1999, 78 x 72 inches, oil & acrylic on canvas

Vernon Fisher, Aardvark Shorter History, 1991, 84 x 96 inches, oil & acrylic on canvas