newsletter, June 1998
By Elizabeth Van Etten
Writers use words to develop a sense of place. Artist Steve Fuchs
draws upon lines, light, shadows and subtle color to convey his
sense of place. He takes us to scenes gone from view, but that still
linger in our memory. At other times, he documents the uniqueness
of a place that may soon be gone.
His Glen Echo Triptych allows you to wander among the carved
animals of the carousel, stopping at times as you did as a child,
before you settled upon your favorite. Fans of drive-ins and the
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" will enjoy his interpretation
of both in one of his more lighthearted works. And the Glen Echo
carousel calls out again, this time in winter, as if a deserted
child waiting for spring and friends to come over to play.
Architectural interpretation has always been a reoccurring theme
for Fuchs. His Riggs bank building shimmers. His Clarendon
Triptych shows buildings, the new ones overshadowing the old.
Cranes loom in the distance, a sign of things yet to come. Working
from historical photos from the turn of the century, Fuchs recreates
the Botanic Garden at White House, demolished for the West
Wing. The old State Theater will not suffer the same fate,
but Fuchs has given us the aged soul before it will be restored.
The Palm House with Capitol is a wistful reminder of how
easy it is to lose something from our past. I remember visiting
the Palm House as a young child, running after the birds among the
towering green plants in its magical space.
His technique is an unusual combination of permanent pigments and
repeated soakings in water. Each drawing is worked in both wet and
dry states. Gradually an image is built up and refined. There is
texture here, complex yet subtle. He captures the character and
mood of a place. It is as if the subjects were trying to tell their
His Self Portrait is the only work in the show with a human
subject and a reminder of his father's Volkswagen shares
the scene. It is a scene from a place in Steve Fuchs' heart, a memory
of not so long ago.
Elizabeth Van Etten is a television producer who often features
the American Art scene in her work.