Richard Fishman Professor of Visual Art

Richard Fishman is a sculptor and designer whose work is represented in numerous private and public collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the B'nai Brith Museum in Washington D.C., the Jewish Museum in New York, the Rose Art Museum, Brandies University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Over the course of his career he has had 27 one-person exhibitions, more than 50 group exhibitions, and is the recipient of many awards including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Fishman is a Professor of Visual Art and Director of the Creative Arts Council at Brown University, where he has been instrumental in creating interdisciplinary initiatives and courses exploring the connections between the arts, science, and technology.

Brown Affiliations

scholarly work

For a full list of exhibitions, commissions, and collections please see link above

research overview

Richard Fishman is an award-winning sculptor whose work has been exhibited throughout the United States, as well as in London and Montreal. Recently, his interests have expanded to include new innovations in virtual sculpting techniques and digital technologies.

research statement

VA 180 Sec. 5 The Elm Tree Project: Site and Material

As a teacher, my most recent work has included The Elm Tree Project , a new Brown University course co-taught with Professor John Dunnigan from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Furniture Design Department. The course presented concepts and practice addressing issues of designing and executing an object for a specific location on the Brown campus. Students were organized in small teams with members representing both institutions. They were asked to identify a specific site on campus and create a design process consistent with the protocol used by practicing architects, sculptors, or designers. Building on concepts explored in previous Elm Tree Project courses, we focused on the elm tree and its the most unique properties – the potential for bending. The interlocking fibrous structure of the wood allows for fairly extreme bends, well beyond the curve potential of most woods. The combination of working with the wood's material properties, techniques such as steam bending and lamination technology, combined with the historical precedents seen in boatbuilding made this an unusual and challenging opportunity for our students. The course exceeded our expectations and yielded four very successful projects, three which have been installed in public spaces on the Brown campus.

Building on this classroom experience, I had a very active and productive year with my creative work. The Elm Tree Project has given me the opportunity to integrate the material and subject matter of my courses with the production of two important pieces. The first is an exterior piece (for bronze), which uses two large casts from the base of the original tree. The piece is conceived as both a sculpture commemorating the tree as well as serving a seating function for a public space on campus. The second piece is an interior sculpture from one of the large limbs of the tree carved inside and out using techniques demonstrated by one of The Elm Tree Project 's visiting artists who has developed techniques using wood from the harvested forests of Tasmania.

Additionally, I am continuing my ongoing work using digitally recorded and collaged photographic imagery output via ink jet printing techniques. I am finishing work on a large 8 ft X 20 ft multiple panel piece thematically connected to my ongoing exploration of the dialogue between images addressing western principles of "beauty" juxtaposed with imbedded images of inherent violence and ugliness.

Recently, my digital photo/print projects have taken a new direction as I've begun to use images collected through medical imaging techniques such as Cardiac Ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Pet/CT, and Gamma cameras. I have completed a small group of prints using images from my own cardiac ultrasounds working with Phillips Medical Systems one of the leading producers of medical imaging equipment. This is a new direction for me and coincides with a new course I am co-teaching with Leon Cooper titled Images for Science: Images from Science .

funded research

2004: President's Venture Fund

2002: Information Technology Research (ITR) grant, National Science Foundation

1982-1983: John H. Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

1974-1975: Howard Foundation Fellowship