Karen Fisher

NOWHERE MAN

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“He’s a real nowhere man. Sitting in his

nowhere land. Making all his nowhere

plans for nobody. Doesn’t have a point

of view. Knows not where he’s going to…”

~ the Beatles

 

What is it like to be alive yet untethered,

not anchored to place? Where

everything fractures, vanishes,

slips away? What is it like to enter the

terrifying de-creation of the self?

This piece is meant to echo the outward

and inward conversations that take place

during the journey one experiences in the

whirlwind that is dementia as one wrangles

with its authority. In the painting, the still-life’s

projected from his head tell the story of my

family’s experience watching my father

progress through the later stages of

Alzheimer’s dementia. The surreal images

of seemingly unrelated objects

reveal the disintegration, the undoing,

the unraveling of self and language.

[ below is language describing images

coming out of his head in “Nowhere Man”]

Specifically, the image with raw chicken and

umbrella speaks to my dad’s anxiety

surrounding the weather. He would check

the weather before going on walks with my

sister. He dreaded rain and if caught out in it

without an umbrella, he would scream that

the rain hitting his skin was burning him.

The David bust relates to the first time we

realized that my dad could no longer groom

himself. He would put deodorant on his cheeks,

smear shaving cream into his hair and

we were afraid that he would eventually cut

himself shaving. With a nod to the Dada

Movement and Baroque still-life, I used

seemingly unrelated objects to represent

my father’s life. The crown, croissant and

pie plate represent my dad’s favorite

treat—RC cola and moon pie. In the still-life

with ace of spades, computer mouse and

mouse wheel, I’m referencing my dad’s

occupation as a systems analyst for the

United States Air Force, a long and

successful career. When my dad’s mind

was unraveling, he felt unmoored. He tried to

stay tethered to his world by playing solitaire

on his computer, walk on the treadmill and

watch Wheel of Fortune so that he could

anchor himself in time and place. We would

play card games to keep his mind occupied

when he no longer knew how to turn on or

use his computer.

 

48 x 60"

Mixed Media

2019