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Critters and Characters

Baby Gene Pool Gets the News

 

Baby Gene Pool Gets the News, from the series Bones and Rock Garden Drawings, 1980. Lithograph.

 

They Call This Area "The Garden of the Gods"

 

They Call This Area "The Garden of Gods," from the series Bones and Rock Garden Drawings, 1980. Xerography.

 

 

Fichter’s work is populated by a personal set of symbols derived from art history, mythology, and his Southern roots. Taking the form of animals, humanoids, and mutants, they appear repeatedly in his work, comprising a visual lexicon for the artist’s explorations of the human condition.

Winged Flying Dog is a silent observer of life’s dramas. Bones, or Mr. Bones, was developed from medieval and Renaissance memento mori, objects that serve as reminders of death, such as skulls in still life paintings. Fichter’s spirited skeleton walks and talks in wry captions and comic-like speech balloons, and even has a wife. Their child Baby Gene Pool is a mutant cyclops created by “Better Living Through Electricity and Chemistry,” a tongue-in-cheek play on a DuPont Company advertising slogan (“Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry”). Fish-Out-Oh-Water, another ecological victim, and others—Mr. Roboto, the missle-headed muscle man Mr. X, and Born-Again Art Ass—serve as alter-egos and allegorical figures that embody Fichter’s concerns about the environment, nuclear proliferation, and capitalism. They are sometimes watched over by the Lone Cowboy of the Apocalypse, a surrogate for the artist. Fichter’s witty titles underscore the satirical inflection of the sometimes ambiguous narratives acted out by these characters.

 

Critters and Characters