Patrick Michael Fitzgerald (1965) is an Irish artist who has lived and worked in Vizcaya, Spain since 1990. His art education was at Chelsea School of Art in London where he gained both his B.A. (1987) and M.A. (1988) in Fine Art Painting. He has exhibited widely in Europe and elsewhere. His work is represented in a number of important collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, O.P.W. (The Irish State Collection), ARTIUM – Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria, Spain, Josef & Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, USA, amongst others.
Fitzgerald’s paintings are a response to things that surround him in his daily life while also being exploratory and a reflection on the history of the medium itself and its possibilities. For him, painting is not just a visual phenomenon but is also a bodily and haptic experience. A state of affairs exists in his paintings and drawings where it is not clear if everything is collapsing and falling apart or on the contrary, forming and coming together. Combining organic and constructed elements, these intermediate, transitional domains are what give the work its tension and dynamics:
“My process has become very organic; reworking things, interweaving things… paintings can have their origins in the history of my own work or the wider history of art. Some small aspect or detail can be enough, a memory of something or even certain sensations. I also use my immediate surroundings and day-to-day life as a source. For me this is important, it’s a way of transforming it into something else. The everyday can have a blind weight to it; the challenge is how to open it up, break it open even. The marvellous is always close at hand and often overlooked. There is also an element of recycling; discarded paintings or studio debris can be incorporated into a work, something from nothing, a kind of radical humility…
…a painting should be a lived thing, it is lived through in its making and in the viewing, as such it will often contain certain failures or inherent problems. It is very often the case that the unresolved has a lot of truth in it. For me a painting is an entity that should not depend on a fixed one-dimensional face to the world. It is an accumulation of evidence which reflects the life of its own making and the daily life that has gone into it.”
Reviewing an exhibition of his drawings at Guest Room Contemporary Art in Brussels in 2010 for the Brooklyn Rail, the poet and writer John Yau wrote “By responding to his immediate environment, Fitzgerald shares something with two older abstract artists, Raoul De Keyser and Thomas Nozkowski. Fitzgerald’s works do not suffer by comparison. Fitzgerald’s vocabulary is Basic – there is nothing elaborate or stylish about his lines and circles, rough and ragged shapes. He relies on coloured 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.”