Centre News

Alysia Fischer ’93 turns trash into treasures in AEGON exhibit

March 14, 2013 By Elizabeth Trollinger       
Artwork by Alysia Fischer ’93 is on display in the AEGON
Gallery until March 28. See a preview of the exhibit in the
video above.

An exhibit of recent works of art by Alysia Fischer ’93 is now on display in the AEGON Gallery in the Jones Visual Arts Center, and will be until March 28. The AEGON Gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Fischer, lecturer at the Center for American and World Cultures and affiliate of the department of anthropology at Miami University of Ohio, is excited to have her pieces on display at her alma mater.

“It feels like coming home. It seems like about every 10 years or so I need to get a Centre fix,” Fischer says. “In 2001-02, I was back working for Steve Powell while finishing up my dissertation on Ancient glassblowers in the Middle East, which also meant I got to be part of his team doing demonstrations at the 2002 Olympics. After I defended my dissertation [Ph.D., University of Arizona, Anthropology, 2001] I also taught at Centre for three semesters, including a 2003 CentreTerm course on ‘The Anthropology of Art.’ So here we are, another 10 years down the road and I’m sharing my work in the gallery of the building I was working in. It’s a great feeling.”

Fischer attributes Powell and other Centre art professors as having an influence on her own unique artistic style.

“I spent many years working for Steve as an undergraduate and then as a graduate student. I’m sure his organic shapes, textures and overall craft have influenced me significantly,” she says. “I was also fortunate to get to know Judith Jia while working for Steve in 2001-02 and love her aesthetic. I’m fortunate to have pieces by both of them in my home that I see every day, along with work by fellow Centre alums: Che Rhodes ’95, Brook White ’91, Paul Nelson ’92, Julie Hornfeck Patterson ’93 and Jennifer Carswell Daniel ’93.”

To create her pieces, Fischer uses found and recycled materials—for which she has been recognized with third place in the Repurposed Materials Category in the Eco Arts Awards, as well as the Award of Distinction in the ArtSpace Fine Contemporary Craft exhibition. Her interest in working with these materials stems from various experiences.

“I spent four years on City Council and Planning Commission here in Oxford, Ohio. It helped me to understand how we’re all part of greater systems,” Fischer says. “In particular, my role in the local waste system became very clear. I’m still very motivated by that.

“When I was working on my MFA [Miami University, Studio Art, 2011], my primary goal was to bring art-making and art-thinking back into the forefront of my life. Realistically, for me, that meant doing work that could be done at home,” Fischer continues. “After a year of working with metals and plastics, I decided to work with materials that were otherwise destined for our local landfill. I particularly looked to local businesses I wanted to support by helping them shrink their waste output. That led me to BikeWise, our locally owned bike shop, where used inner tubes were abundant. Rubber remains my primary medium, but I’m also engaged in a year-long project to repurpose one thing every day.”

At Centre, Fischer learned that it’s possible to transcend expectations and take on multiple roles and challenges.

“I credit my liberal arts education at Centre for my belief that I don’t have to fit neatly in one box. I can be an artist, an anthropologist, an elected official, a student and a faculty member all at the same time—and I was in 2006,” says Fischer. “My mom once said whenever she hears about people who put two or more disciplines together in unexpected combinations, they almost always turn out to be Centre graduates.”

Fischer hopes that people come away from her exhibit with an appreciation not only for the work, but for what it’s made of.

“My primary goal is for people to have an intriguing aesthetic experience,” she says. “My secondary goal is for them to think about materials: where they come from and where they end up.”

For more about Fischer’s work, visit her website at AlysiaFischer.com, or her blog, repurposing365.

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail elizabeth.trollinger@centre.edu with your feedback.

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