Patrick Michael Fitzgerald

“Patrick Michael Fitzgerald: New Paintings & Drawings”

October 2- November 21, 2010

Press Release | Images | Essay | Resume

PRESS RELEASE

Some Walls is pleased to begin its second year of programming with new paintings and drawings by Irish artist Patrick Michael Fitzgerald from October 2- November 21, 2010.

Fitzgerald, who lives in Zalla (Vizcaya), near Bilbao, Spain will show two paintings and six drawings, all completed in 2010.

In a recent essay, Sherman Sam wrote, "Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, as an artist, really is a farmer. What is it to say that an artist is farmer? I mean he grows art; it is organic produce. Art today does not seem to be grown; it is manufactured, produced, industrially fabricated, even battery farmed in a few instances. Who grows art any longer? Just a small handful."

In a review in the Brooklyn Rail of Fitzgerald’s recent exhibition at Guest Room in Brussels, John Yau wrote, "Fitzgerald’s vocabulary is basic—there is nothing elaborate or stylish about his lines and circles, rough and ragged shapes. He relies on colored pencils, ink, and collage—nothing fancy. And yet—and this is why Fitzgerald seems to me to be on the verge of becoming an important and singular artist—the work comes across as taut and fresh, brimming with an awareness that the act of seeing is a construction, at once fluid and disrupted."

Fitzgerald’s recent solo exhibitions include: Drawings, Guest Room/Contemporary Art, Brussels, Belgium, 2010; Bihotz, Rubicon Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, 2010; and Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris 2008.

Group exhibitions include: Collecting the New, Recent Acquisitions to the IMMA Collection, Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, 2010; and Alpha, Drei Raum für Gegenwartskunst Cologne, Germany, 2009.

Work in public collections include: O.P.W. Irish State Collection; ARTIUM, Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria, Spain; Josef & Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, USA; Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin; and C.C.A. Andratx, Mallorca.

See images, an essay, and biography.

Some Walls is a curatorial and writing art project in a private home in Oakland, California. Some Walls is open by appointment only. To view the exhibition online please visit somewalls.com. To schedule a visit, or for more information, please contact Chris Ashley at info@somewalls.com.

Previous exhibitions at Some Walls:

 

IMAGES

 

ESSAY

But shadow enlivened by atoms of sunlight
Constantly crisscrossed by sleepless flies.
 
Mute Objects of Expression by French poet and essayist, Francis Ponge (1899 – 1988)
Ponge’s lines, to which artist Patrick Michael Fitzgerald has referred[1], describe and evoke the buzzing and movement of tiny and microscopic objects—shadow energized by and contrasting with almost imperceptible light, the random flight paths of non-stop insects that effortlessly draw a grid in the air without plan, the color and atmosphere of a designated space and the activity within it—and begin with a "But" that acts as a contradiction, an "instead of," a proposal that the objects in our world, even the smallest ones, are not inconsequential. These objects and their changing, dynamic qualities matter even without our attention or presence, and can be seen and experienced if one is attentive and patient. The world around us, which we often think of as still, a theater turned off when we aren’t looking, is instead constantly in motion at the smallest and least tangible level.
 
Ponge is associated with phenomenology, the philosophical movement founded by Edmund Husserl in Germany in the early 20th century. Simply, phenomenology is a philosophical method for the objective study of topics typically regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as perceptions, emotions, and judgments. Although it seeks to be scientific, phenomenology does not study consciousness from the perspective of clinical psychology or neurology, but rather, through systematic reflection, to determine the essential properties and structures of consciousness and conscious experience. Ponge’s poem attempts to bring a heightened conscious sensitivity and awareness to the phenomena of nature: light, living things, motion, sight, and perception.
 
Fitzgerald’s art provides for the viewer a visual experience roughly parallel to Ponge’s written example. His attunement to visual phenomena in his and our environment—phenomena in the natural, constructed, social, and political world that we inhabit and navigate over time incidentally and accidentally, circumstantially and intentionally, in isolation and repetitively, whether consciously or not—is filtered through and presented via the primary and elemental handmade language of drawing and painting: line, shape, color, surface, gesture, layers, cuts, and collage. His response to nature is not merely filtered through selection, reduction, abstraction, or interpretation, but is instead the living and breathing experience of seeing, acknowledging, using, and reusing, an experience that is nuanced and complicated, human and murky. The artist’s process requires immersion, reflection, dissection, isolation, reorganization, multiplication, expansion, repetition, variation, compression, and iteration. Fitzgerald’s art is the result of this non-linear process, and his observation, making, and presentation—perception, emotion, and judgment—ultimately provide for us flat, rectangular wall-hung objects on the surface of which are organized rich and intricate, earned and determined images. Our job—a function and a privilege of our sighted, conscious, and discerning existence—is first to objectively discover, confront, and engage with Fitzgerald’s visual objects in an attempt to know his subjective presentation, and to then attempt to know our own subjective experience. Through systematic observation and reflection we determine first the essential physical properties and structures in Fitzgerald’s art, and secondly to hypothesize, reflect on, and confirm the artist’s and our consciousness and conscious experience. Ultimately, our objective contemplation of the subjective painted object makes us aware of our subjective experience, and more aware of the world in which we live.
 
Fitzgerald’s images combine several image-making methods in single works, an approach that might sound premeditated, procedural, layered, and dense but instead results in sensitive, intuitive, highly-conscious, and coherent images. Our experience of these layers requires observation and cognition—the process of thought. For example, in his small painting Peso (verde), 2010, three different pictorial approaches are combined and integrated. First, across the background surface a field of dabs and dribbles is obscured by the foggy atomized cloud of white spray paint, on top of which a brushed green tree-like shape or figure reaches from the top to nearly the bottom. Adjacent to the left is collaged a strip of red-stained fabric. The foggy field is achieved via a mechanical process that applies paint without touching the surface and reads as recessive, while the green figure is gestural, drawn, and constructed by touching the surface on which it sits. The red fabric anchors or stabilizes the green figure, and is a real thing that reminds us that the painting is a physical object. In a strange way this red fabric, nubby and frayed along its top edge, counter-intuitively connects and mediates the two other painted areas.
 
Another example of Fitzgerald’s approach and process is the drawing Spine (blue & red), also 2010. In this drawing scribbled gestural lines are between and on top of ruled lines, while areas of white paper contrast with colored areas; these areas are the actual drawn aspect here. But there are two more forms of drawing, each of which in turn have two facets. First, two kinds of cutting, which are really kinds of drawing, take place in Fitzgerald’s work: precise cuts into and through the paper, analogous to the ruled lines, create shaped negative or see-through areas, while pieces of more freehand-cut paper from existing drawings are collaged into the drawn field. Secondly, there are two kinds of collage: the cut fragments of drawings just mentioned, and found objects applied to the surface, in this case one end or handle of a paper fan, a real thing as opposed to a drawn thing, placed vertically in the middle top part of the entire drawing, and which itself contains see-through cuts in a scroll pattern. Like phenomenologists, through objective observation we gain insight into the factual aspects of Fitzgerald’s processes and products, which leads us to the possibility of assessing subjective aspects such as the artist’s motivation, desires, and decisions, and finally, with reflection, to the content of conscious experiences such as perceptions, emotions, and judgments.
 
Recently a great deal of excellent and helpful writing about Fitzgerald’s art has been published which examines and explains the physical, aesthetic, and conceptual properties of his work, while also relating and reflecting the heightened conscious experience his paintings and drawings make possible. This writing is not only helpful in describing and gaining insight into Fitzgerald’s work, but is also particularly useful here for briefly conveying various approaches to thinking about his paintings and drawings, and for surveying the growing consensus of experience and opinion coalescing around his art.
 
In a recent catalog essay Frank Lubbers, a curator and writer based in Brussels, notes Fitzgerald’s associative imagery, and perhaps the artist’s sources, saying, "There is some reminiscence of flowers, flowering trees, branches and twigs, either in spring, autumn or winter. His titles may give a hint, like Jardín (Garden) or Tree. In other works there might be a kind of untidy, but beautifully structured grid or wire mesh laid over the painting, in which oddly shaped forms are hung, like laundry, drying on a line. It can seem as if the wind took some nicely coloured irregularly torn rags and blew them into a rusty fence[2]"
 
London-based artist, critic, and curator Sherman Sam introduces the notion of Masanobu Fukuoka’s idea of farming, which suggests, "how to not do too much, in fact how not to do anything at all, and, instead, work with nature. Hence no fertilizer, no ploughing, no herbicides, no insecticide". Connecting this to the idea that Fitzgerald’s art has an organic, integrated, and human basis, Sam continues, "Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, as an artist, really is a farmer. What is it to say that an artist is farmer? I mean he grows art; it is organic produce. Art today does not seem to be grown; it is manufactured, produced, industrially fabricated, even battery farmed in a few instances. Who grows art any longer? Just a small handful[3]."
 
Finally, New York poet, critic, and curator John Yau explicitly identifies the role of specific and homespun visual characteristics and qualities found in works in Fitzgerald’s 2010 exhibition at Guest Room in Brussels when he writes, "Using a vocabulary that consists of a few vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines (a skeletal geometry) juxtaposed against ragged and rounded shapes, and perfectly cut, collaged circles, and pristine cut-out spaces, Fitzgerald responds to something palpable in the world. The often-layered space, while alluding to nature, also conveys drawing as an accumulation of decisions, as well as a visual indication of time past. One both sees and sees into these drawings, with the layering reiterated by the use of collage in the form of the perfectly round circles." Yau concludes that, "Fitzgerald’s vocabulary is basic—there is nothing elaborate or stylish about his lines and circles, rough and ragged shapes. He relies on colored pencils, ink, and collage—nothing fancy. And yet—and this is why Fitzgerald seems to me to be on the verge of becoming an important and singular artist—the work comes across as taut and fresh, brimming with an awareness that the act of seeing is a construction, at once fluid and disrupted."
 
Patrick Michael Fitzgerald’s art is rich and complicated, yet accessible and based in perception and feeling. As Lubbers says, "The real great capacity of a painter is… to amaze us. This surprise is mostly in the imaginative, unusual and unexpected angle from which the painter sees reality, and by which he provides us with a fresh and unexpected look at the world around us[5]."
 
Chris Ashley
Oakland, CA
October 2010
 

[1] Fitzgerald, Patrick Michael. Crisscrossed. Le Roseau Pensant (blog). March 22, 2010. http://patrickmfitzgerald.blogspot.com/2010/03/crisscrossed.html.
[2] Lubbers, Frank. Patrick Michael Fitzgerald: A world of paint. Paintings and drawings by Patrick Michael Fitzgerald. Rubicon Gallery, Dublin, June 2010. http://patrickmichaelfitzgerald.net/?page_id=29.
[3] Sam, Sherman. Farming drawing: Patrick Michael Fitzgerald. Guest Room/Contemporary Art, Brussels. 2010. http://patrickmichaelfitzgerald.net/?page_id=29.
[4] Yau, John. Patrick Michael Fitzgerald Drawings. Brooklyn Rail. 2010. http://www.brooklynrail.org/2010/07/artseen/patrick-michael-fitzgerald-drawings.
[5] Ibid.

 

RESUME

Patrick Michael Fitzgerald (web site | blog )
Born 1965. Lives and works in Zalla (Vizcaya), Spain

Education

  • 1983-84
    Norwich School of Art, Norwich, England.
  • 1984-87
    B.A. Hons Fine Art.
    Chelsea School of Art, London.
  • 1987-88
    Master in Fine Arts.
    Chelsea School of Art, London.

Exhibitions

Recent solo exhibitions include: Drawings, Guest Room/Contemporary Art, Brussels, Belgium, 2010; Bihotz, Rubicon Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, 2010; and Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2008.

Recent group exhibitions include: Collecting the New, Recent Acquisitions to the IMMA Collection, Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, 2010; and Alpha, Drei Raum für Gegenwartskunst, Cologne, Germany, 2009.

See a complete list of exhibitions and bibliography at Patrick Michael Fitzgerald’s web site