Gallery director Hilary Hunt with headliner Sarah Fisher.
Sarah Fisher's "Untitled," 2016 at Art Palace. The subject is the artist's good pal, Trish Morille, with whom she founded the nonprofit Positive Works, to end bullying.
The artist's own self-portrait from 2015, is part of her assured debut at Art Palace.
Subjects in the exhibition range across generations. Here: "Next," 2016.
This portrait of the fashionable Cate Stewart, discovered on Instagram, led to the show.
A depiction of the painter's husband: "Pertinacity," 2015.
Pets also make a PA in these canvases: Fisher's "Inverse," 2016.
The subject of "Serious," 2016, gazes thoughtfully from the canvas.
Fisher's women command attention, as in "Impermanence," 2015.
Another self-portrait, this one from 2016, reflects Fisher in her growing confidence.
Sarah Fisher's "Character," 2016, is a character.
Both sons are subjects: "Unwind," 2016.
"Moxie," 2016, depicts the grit of a pal's neighbor.
"Kindergarden," 2016, hints at the adult this child may become.
An Instagram post bearing an attention-getting portrait resulted in a big break for one Houston artist — and her first major show.
If the artist’s name is not tremendously familiar it’s because her entry in the art world did not come through any prescribed routine. After a career in marketing, while living in London with her energy executive husband and two sons — all of whom make compelling subjects for this collection of portrait paintings —Fisher formalized her studio practice with study at the Hampstead School of Art in London (a respected arts school whose founding goes back to an idea proposed by the great Brit sculptor Henry Moore).
Flash forward. Returning to the states, the Fishers settled in Houston; after co-founding a nonprofit devoted to overcoming bullying in school, the artist again took up her paintbrushes. Acceptance is the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School of Art Block Program followed, a bookend to its acclaimed Core Program, but geared to Houston residents.
Working on a series of oil on canvas portraits of family, friends, and acquaintances, inspired by the directness of American portrait legend Alice Neel, Fisher was “discovered” by Art Palace founder Arturo Palacios after he perused Instagram. The actual image that captured Palacios’ eye is included in this show — a depiction of the fashion maven Cate Stewart rendered in Now, 2016. (The subject, married to painter Will Henry, is immersed in the fashion arena; with her sharp eye and sense of natural style, she manages the new Upper Kirby boutique Kick Pleat.)
Keep Sarah Fisher on your radar. The likenesses she conjures, with their fluid painting handling and creamy passages of abstraction, are evocative and powerful, yet also nuanced in underlining composition and palette. Like the most intriguing people you know, they reveal themselves through close inspection — over time.
After basking in the portraits, step into the project gallery, for Houston painter Bill Willis’ droll little watercolors that transport the viewer to favorite meals or remembered places.
“Sarah Fisher: Seen” paired with “Bill Willis: New Watercolors,” through March 4, at Art Palace, 3913 Main St., 832.390.1278.