Words and Pictures: Vernon Fisher, 1980 - 2019

UNT Art Gallery
October 8, 2019 to December 7, 2019

Words and Pictures by UNT Regents Professor of Art Emeritus Vernon Fisher presents paintings and sculptures from 1980 to the present and celebrates the grand opening of the expanded and integrated College of Visual Arts and Design building at the University of North Texas.

Curated by Tracee W. Robertson


All events meet in the UNT Art Gallery, located on the east side of the CVAD Courtyard near the grand staircase.

Exhibition Q&A with Vernon Fisher

Oct 11, 1-3 pm
Opening Reception

Oct 12, 2 pm
Exhibition Tour with Tracee Robertson

About the Exhibition

Vernon Fisher desires his works first to appear as meaningful clutter, and then, upon further looking, as like an archeological site. The paintings present several layers, which, like geological strata, differ in what each contains. Such a site invites careful inspection, looking for and piecing together bits of information to gain understanding of the nature of the place and time – commonly about the life of the planet or about the human story. Inviting this type of viewing, Fisher’s work leads us in an exploration of the nature of being and knowing, namely how we know what we know, in a particular era of this story.

Facing Fisher’s paintings can feel like an encounter with both beauty and a game. The experience is like deciphering a Sudoku puzzle for the first time: reading the instructions, staring at the puzzle’s squares, and trying to find a way to start. Fisher’s paintings are less technically rigid than Sudoku puzzles, and there are no instructions. To engage with his art, you have to know things. You have to be willing to enjoy the simple formal elements that give the experience harmony. You won’t know everything, but you will know enough to perceive in the work an expression of life.

Words and Pictures presents paintings and sculptures from 1980 to the present and celebrates the grand opening of the expanded and integrated College of Visual Arts and Design building at the University of North Texas. Vernon Fisher is UNT Regents Professor of Art Emeritus. He taught drawing and painting from 1978 to 2006, and his students hold positions in the arts nationwide.

About the Artist

Vernon Fisher was born in 1943, in Fort Worth, Texas, where he continues to live and work. He was educated at Hardin-Simmons University and received an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois in 1969. His multi-media art, which combines his narrative texts with painting, drawing, sculpture, and found objects, has been exhibited widely in one-person and group exhibitions. He has created many museum installations, including those at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois. He represented the United States in the Fifth India Triennial, New Delhi, India.

In 1989, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego organized a mid-career survey of his work, which travelled to the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas; and the Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida. 

In 2010, the Modern Art Museum produced Vernon Fisher: K-Mart Conceptualism, a career retrospective, which was accompanied by the monograph, Vernon Fisher, University of Texas Press.

Fisher has earned numerous honors and awards including three Individual Artist’s Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant; an Award in the Visual Arts, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts; and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

His writings have been anthologized in Navigating by the Stars, published by Landfall Press in 1989.

Vernon Fisher is a Regents Professor of Art, Emeritus, at the University of North Texas where he taught for twenty-eight years. He received the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teaching of Art Award in 1992.

Exhibition Sponsors

This exhibition is made possible by the UNT Mary Jo and V. Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series, a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the College of Visual Arts and Design