— Viewing room
Richard Fleischner: Witness Mark

Helwaser Gallery is pleased to present Witness Mark, a solo exhibition by artist Richard Fleischner (b. 1944, New York). Over an extensive, five-decade career, Fleischner has produced a wide-ranging body of work that comprises large-scale sited works, sculpture, photography, and drawing. This will be the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work at the gallery, and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, with an essay by art historian and curator Jennifer Gross.

Last modified

August 18, 2020

0. Installation view

A Sense of Place 

Creating a "sense of place" is a crucial principle that undergirds Fleischner's multi-disciplinary practice. By combining primary forms, lines, and volumes across his individual sculptures, gouaches, and large-scale sited works, Fleischner emphasizes a return to vernacular, simple forms that are repeated throughout art and architectural history. Since the 1970s, Fleischner has been engaged in an ongoing dialogue about what he terms "place-making". His work considers dimensioned space, and our perceptions and experiences of it. Distance, inside/outside, placement, form, scale, color and light are all aspects that he considers. 


Fleischner is best known for his large-scale, sited works, which he built in several sites in the United States and abroad. This exhibition presents his recent body of individual sculptures and gouaches — "The process of working with these materials", Richard writes, "has been intimate and immediate... My work grows out of the details that I recognize and acknowledge within the commonplace and the universal – which are irreducible in our everyday built experience."


"Ruins like those at Pompeii and Ostia Antica in Italy, the simple existing qualities of a factory, stone quarry, or mill, and the beauty and integrity of everyday, unauthored situations have always been compelling to Fleischner... In ruins there are minimal references to what was once there, but the basic gesture of place remains. It is a sense of place in its most primitive and primal form... It is this economy of line, plane, and volume that captures the artist and which he repeats in his built work and in the gouaches."                              —Julia Brown, writer and curator

inventory 1

Richard Fleischner, Untitled Palestinian Refugee Camp Photographs, 1980, archival pigment print, 17 x 22 in, (43.2 x 55.9 cm), Edition of 10 + 1AP




Growing up, Fleischner lived in the urban environment of the Bronx, New York. In his practice, he still draws heavily from these formative perspectives of the world. For him, the handball or basketball courts that dotted the borough where he grew up in were circumscribed open spaces, determined by chain-link fences and brick walls. These became plane and line, which in turn becomes volume and form — and influenced his current body of work today. 


7. Image of Untitled

Richard Fleischner, Untitled, 2015, steel, paper, beeswax, and plaster, 4 3/4 x 18 1/4 x 9 1/2 in (12.1 x 46.4 x 24.1 cm)




Richard Fleischner
Untitled #19
earthen-plaster, cardboard
11 x 9 x 91/4 inches (27.9 x 22.9 x 23.5 cm)
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Construction
plaster, burlap, paper, pigmented beeswax, ash
5 1/2 x 16 3/4 x 9 in (14 x 42.5 x 22.9 cm)

"These things occur all the time everywhere, particular within vernacular circumstances. You just have to look, to see it, to pay attention... and then you have to acknowledge it. So, I may find something laying on the street, and it may just start a whole thing. A whole process."  


Explore Richard Fleischner's studio in the video below.

Courtesy the Studio of Richard Fleischner. Video: Ben Chace.
12. Catalpa image

Richard Fleischner, Untitled Construction, 2016, wood, cardboard, earthen-plaster, catalpa pods, 25 1/2 x 20 1/4 x 5 7/8 in (64.8 x 51.4 x 14.9 cm)




Richard Fleischner
Untitled (Plaster Construction)
5 x 4 x 7 3/4 in (12.7 x 10.2 x 19.7 cm)
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Construction
wood, cardboard, plaster
4 3/4 x 14 3/4 x 3 3/8 in (12.1 x 37.5 x 8.6 cm)

Space, time, and process

In Fleischner's recent gouaches, colored elements — usually cubes and rectangles — are suspended in the ground of the work. His gouaches address the same formal principles found in his individual sculptures, realized in the more intimate scale of small, and larger-scale drawings. 


According to art historian Jennifer Gross, Fleischner’s work in this medium "has explored the tensions between forms across a two-dimensional frontal plane for many years." It is in these gouaches that forms are set "against a deep space, signaling their consideration in three dimensions—or in space that extends infinitely. The forms magically hold in proximity to one another." An important part of Fleischner's practice, these gouache works have always spoken to the principles of place-making that the artist's sculptures embody. 

divider - installation view - gouaches
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Gouache
gouache on paper
11 5/8 x 11 5/8 in (29.5 x 29.4 cm)
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Gouache
gouache on paper
20 3/8 x 22 1/4 in (51.8 x 56.5 cm)

Fleischner's gouaches are made through a long process of building up layers of paint, then sanding, scraping, and washing them down. The worked surfaces of his gouaches bear the marks of the artist's own hand, similar to many of the indvidual sculptures.


As Julia Brown writes, "In the same way Fleischner works the surface of a stone or piece of wood in his built projects as well as in his singular sculptures to achieve a certain patina, the surfaces of the gouaches develop a finish of complex interest, a physicality that carries a sense of time and process." 

18. Image of Untitled Gouache

Richard Fleischner, Untitled Gouache, 2018-2019, gouache on paper, 22 5/8 x 30 in (57.5 x 76.2 cm)




Richard Fleischner
Untitled Gouache
gouache on paper
19 3/8 x 19 1/4 in (49.2 x 48.9 cm)
divider: installation image
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Gouache
gouache on paper
30 x 31 1/2 inches (76 x 80 cm)
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Gouache
gouache on paper
23 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches (59.7 x 59.7 cm)
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Construction
wood, beeswax, and gouache
9 x 6 3/4 x 3 1/4 in. ( 22.9 x 17.1 x 8.3 cm)

His latest works in the exhibition are two works from an ongoing series that he started in 2019 of wall-mounted constructions, made of wooden cubes. Fleischner "prioritizes optical engagement over physical comprehension", according to Jennifer Gross, where these works encourage "close looking, intimacy, and detail." 

24. Installation view wall constructions
Richard Fleischner
Untitled Construction
wood and gouache
6 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 3 1/8 inches (16.5 x 18.4 x 7.9 cm)

Witness Mark

Fleischner's latest body of sculptures and gouaches are a testament to a five-decade career that has developed through paying close attention to the details that make up the fabric of human life and its homes. As Jennifer Gross writes, “Fleischner believes in absolute truths based on human proportions that can and should be utilized in the making of art, and that have shaped many of the great cultural artifacts in human history.” 

end installation view

Read Jennifer Gross's essay on the work of Richard Fleischner in our new exhibition catalogue. For more information, click here

28. catalogue push

Inquire on works in this exhibition





Explore more works by Richard Fleischner





Privacy Policy

Clearwater Contemporary Art, LLC (d/b/a “Helwaser Gallery”) is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This privacy policy describes the Personal Data which Helwaser Gallery collects about you through your use of our Platforms, and also sets out how we use, disclose, and protect this data.  It also outlines your choices and rights regarding the personal information you have provided to us.


This policy applies to all Personal Data processed online by Helwaser Gallery through its website, social media platforms, email, and newsletter subscription service.


For the purposes of this Policy:

“Personal Data” means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person, where an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person; and


“process”, “processed” and “processing” means any operation, or set of operations, which is performed on Personal Data or on sets of Personal Data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.


What information do we collect?

You may give us information about you by filling in forms when using our services, signing up to our newsletter or contacting us with enquiries. Such information can include:


1.    Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address; and

2.    Data including artwork information, artworks owned, requested, offered, reserved, purchased, consigned and details of artwork invoices.


Information about your usage of, and interaction with our website. we may automatically collect data about your browsing activities including traffic data, location data, the originating domain name of your Internet service provider, and statistics on page views.


We keep your information confidential, but may disclose it to our personnel, suppliers or subcontractors insofar as it is reasonably necessary for the purposes set out in this privacy policy. However, this is on the basis that they do not make independent use of the information, and have agreed to safeguard this information.


In addition, we may disclose your information to the extent that we are required to do so by law (which may include to government bodies and law enforcement agencies) in connection with any legal proceedings or prospective legal proceedings, and in order to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention).


How do we use the information collected?

Your Personal Data is generally processed by us as necessary for purposes directly related to our functions and activities. This includes any one or more of the following purposes:



We also use various forms of marketing to provide you with promotional materials for the purposes of marketing in accordance with our legitimate interests to send you information about gallery exhibitions and events. We use third party email providers, such as MailChimp, to process these marketing emails. If you would like to be removed from this mailing list, please contact us at or click on unsubscribe at the bottom of each marketing email.


We may share your Personal Data with our selected third party providers and suppliers for the performance of delivering our Service under the contract between you and Helwaser Gallery, including processing payments and delivering artwork to you in accordance with your instructions. Our third party suppliers will have their own processing terms. Where we reasonably believe that you are or may be in breach of any of the applicable laws, we may use your personal information to inform relevant third parties such as your email/internet provider or law enforcement agencies about the content.



Helwaser Gallery does not process the Personal Data of persons 16 years of age or younger, except where express consent has been communicated to us by a person capable of giving such consent on his/her behalf. Where the processing of your Personal Data does not fall under one of the bases set out within this policy, we will obtain express written consent from you for such processing by methods or means which include making you sign a form or check a box. You can withdraw such express consent at any time by contacting us at


You have the right to request a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to have any inaccuracies corrected.


We will use reasonable efforts to the extent required by law to supply, correct or delete personal information held about you on our files (and with any third parties to whom it has been disclosed to).


Access to Personal Data

You may request access to, and correction of, your Personal Data held by us by contacting us at the contact details at any time. All requests for access and/or correction will be processed within a reasonable time except where we refuse such requests in accordance with any applicable laws or regulations. In some situations, you may be able to access and correct your personal information directly through our Platforms.


Safeguarding Personal Data

We will use reasonable technical and procedural measures to safeguard your Personal Data, for example, by: ensuring that access to any personal account you have with us is controlled by a password and username which are unique to you; storing your Personal Data on secured servers; and restricting access to Personal Data on a ‘need to know’ basis.


Whilst we will use all reasonable efforts to safeguard your Personal Data, please note that the use of the Internet and/or our Platforms cannot be made entirely secure and we therefore are unable to guarantee the security or integrity of any Personal Data which is transferred from you or to you via the Platforms.


Object to us processing data about you

You can ask us to restrict, stop processing, or to delete your Personal Data by contacting us at if:



If you inform us that you would no longer like us to store or process your Personal Data, we may be required to collect information from you each time you interact with staff members or through our website.


Making a complaint

If you are unhappy with the way Helwaser Gallery is processing your Personal Data, please let us know.

By email:, referencing “Privacy Policy”

By mail: Helwaser Gallery, 833 Madison Ave, Third Floor, New York, NY 10021


Data retention

We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as is necessary for the relevant service or as required by law, or for accounting or regulatory purposes, or as otherwise described in this privacy policy.


Changes to our policy

We will notify you of any changes to this policy by email, or announcing it on our website.

Further rights of data subjects in the European Union (“EU”)

If you are a data subject in the EU, you may contact us to exercise the following further rights:



All requests made to us in exercising the rights above will be processed within a reasonable time except where we refuse such requests in accordance with any applicable laws or regulations.



Updated August 2019