Georgia Russell, “Fishing Nets” (2018) cut print on paper (Kozo) 47 1/4 x 59 x 6 2/3 inches (photo by Gilles Mazzufferi, © Georgia Russell, images courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve, St. Moritz/Paris/Köln)

Editor’s note: The author’s travel and lodgings were paid for by the public relations firm Sharpe Communications, on behalf of TEFAF Maastricht.

MAASTRICHT, The Netherlands — It has been said that the last thing a fish understands as it dies suffocating after being pulled from the sea is that it lives in water. Georgia Russell’s work of a cut print on paper made of Kozo fiber, “Fishing Nets” (2018) might be a vision of what I fish would see as it lays gasping for breath at the bottom of a net. It’s a swirl of sea and air and maybe a patch of sun. Possibly it’s a deep darkness that fitfully clouds this vision as a permanent night encroaches. Or it might be that Russell has made the work a window into a littoral zone where seaweed swims up and effloresces into mushrooming shrubs and the horizon disappears within a domain where all is motion. Still, there are what looks like boats visible in the gloaming, their bows, sterns, and sails curving like cursive vessels surfing the waves.

It’s fitting to find “Fishing Nets” here, at Galerie Karsten Greve‘s booth at the TEFAF fair, since the work cleverly rides that line between the decorative and the intellectually meaningful. The moiré pattern of the work mesmerizes. It is made by way of cutting printed materials to result in latticework that is both fine and delicate. This is the hallmark of Russell’s practice: using a scalpel to selectively remove from sight what might have visually cohered with far less wonderment. Standing in front of the work I see with blinding sight what the dying fish might see, the coming night like a wave and above it a world that is not made for me.

Galerie Karsten Greve has booth 414 at the TEFAF Maastricht fair for fine art, antiques, and design takes place in Maastricht, the Netherlands (at the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Center) through March 24.

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Seph Rodney

Seph Rodney, PhD, is a senior critic for Hyperallergic and has written for the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and other publications. He is featured on the podcast The...

One reply on “Seeing What the Fish Might See”

  1. Thank you for your empathic, and, more importantly, your compassionate interpretation of this artwork. Science has shown that fish are sentient and keenly perceptive. They suffer fear and pain and deserve our compassion and respect. A wonderful book about them is What a Fish Knows, by ethologist Jonathan Balcombe.

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