In this new body of work, set in domestic interiors and exteriors, there is a palpable sense of disconnect between an outward appearance of wealth and security and an inner sense of fear and longing for which there is no apparent cause.
Following on from the exploration in Late America, at a time of political turmoil, of a society whose misplaced values gives rise to a lack of fulfillemt, the paintings in Presence of an Absence continue to engage with this sense of detachment and with universal existential questions.
In some of the works, the figures are dressed in sombre clothing, perhaps coming or going to a funeral. In others, we witness scenes of intimacy that lack desire. Since the 1970s Fischl has been painting scenes of suburban life, conveying through paint what we fail to say in words. A collapse of communication has been prevalent throughout his work and here we see him again ask a series of questions such as “who are these people?” and “how are they connected?”. The lack of obvious answers is typical of his narrative style.