Amy Fichter

Artist Bio

“The body dies, but the soul goes to heaven.” Ever since Amy Fichter was told this as a young child, she has wondered, “but what about the body here and now?” She has always felt a fascination with the body as something that can simultaneously or distinctly experience pleasure and provoke disgust. Fichter finds inspiration in the body’s ability to persist amid pain, illness, turmoil, and injustice. The body is the conduit through which our thoughts and emotions are conveyed. The body connects us to the physical world and reflects our experiences. These ideas are at the heart of Fichter’s drawings.

Fichter is interested not only in the body in general, but in the specific bodies of those she loves. Her drawings are portraits of people with whom she has meaningful relationships, whose minds and bodies have shaped her and vice versa. In the act of drawing those dear to her, Fichter honors these individuals and further deepens her connection to them.

Fichter’s drawings are created one mark at a time, considering how each mark relates to the whole. Through the mark-making process Fichter addresses space, form, and structure, deliberating how much disruption of those elements is needed to express a live body in space and time. Fichter uses color to create a sense of life and abundance, to describe at once a body and that which is more than a body. She is interested in the fact that while we appear static and solid, we are but atoms in perpetual motion. She keeps pondering the question: what is the body, here and now?

Fichter grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa, earned a BA in Art at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and an MA in Art from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. She was trained in classical anatomy drawing at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she earned her MFA. She has been a professor of Life Drawing at the University of Wisconsin–Stout since 2003.

In addition to making figure drawings, Fichter has also worked in photography. Her photographs were featured in the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and her drawings are held in the collections of the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, NC, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, AL, and the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC. Fichter has had artwork displayed in over 130 exhibitions regionally, nationally, and internationally.