Esta mañana en el estudio...

Some pictures of my studio this morning. I have been working on larger paintings.
Bones, branches, sinews, overlapping swathes of colour, collage.... structures of pain and pleasure. The touch along the line - a curious affirmation in doubt.


Informal Relations

I am delighted to have work included in "Informal Relations" a project curated by Scott Grow at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art:

contemporary abstract works on paper

December 3rd - January 15th
Opening reception is December 3rd from 6pm - 11pm
Gallery hours are Thursday - Saturday 11am - 6pm

The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA) is pleased to announce the group exhibition, Informal Relations curated by Indianapolis based artist and curator Scott Grow.

Informal Relations presents recent abstract works on paper by a diverse group of international artists, and focuses on the diversity of practices-approaches, styles, and intentions-- within painting and abstraction today. The exhibition's title refers to kind the "informal relations" artists have with one another, their predecessors, with the modernist tradition, the future, and even with their own work. While works on paper may stand as finished works, they are also often places for exploration, thinking, planning, taking chances, and failure.

Abstract art is challenging because of its concrete and/or metaphoric nature which refuses expected representation, its defiance of language and absolute interpretation, and because it requires the viewer's engagement and participation. And because abstraction is not a singular school or style, the term itself is not necessarily helpful in identifying the qualities or concepts embodied in the art object: artists often naturally have shared and conflicting objectives for the art they make. Abstraction, which lends itself to various aesthetic, conceptual, and political stances, is broadly multiphasic, utilitarian, and flexible.

Each artist presented here confronts, investigates, and presents a definition of abstract painting true to his or her materials, motifs, and sensibilities. Informal Relations explores the similarities, differences, and connections between these artists, their dialog with abstraction's history, and various directions forward for abstraction.

This exhibition presents the works of 32 artists from across the United States and abroad. Participating artists include: Patrick Alt, Chris Ashley, Patrick Berran, Kadar Brock, Matthew Deleget, Laura Fayer, Keltie Ferris, Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, Connie Goldman, Brent Hallard, Rachel Hayes, Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Michael Just, Matthew Langley, Jim Lee, Rossana Martinez, Rob Nadeau, Melissa Oresky, Paul Pagk, Danielle Riede,Maximilian Rödel , Eric Sall, Susan Scott, Gabriel J. Shuldiner, Jessica Snow, Henning Straßburger, Garth Weiser, Wendy White, Paige Williams, Douglas Witmer, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and John Zurier.

For further information visit, www.indymoca.org



Things Read...Macbeth

...Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, act V, scene 5


Things read...Thomas Bernhard

"I now had an opportunity to examine my grandfather's assertions. I had an obsessive desire to gather the evidence in my head, and so I began a strenuous search for the evidence, tracking it down in every direction, in every corner of the city of my youth and its surroundings. My grandfather had been right in his judgment of the world: it was indeed a cesspit, but one which engendered the most intricate and beautiful forms if one looked into it long enough, if one's eye was prepared for such strenuous and microscopic observation"
Thomas Bernhard


A few thoughts (doubts)...

How should we understand the political in art?
Everything is political on one level, or so it is said.
To be very wary of systems though… in thought too (My love for Pascal). And is it possible to do this in painting? Painting as something forever renegade?

Critical theory can become an orthodoxy in its own right. Before one knows it you are dancing with the devil.

We have seen that everything can become a commodity. Even ideas.
Is this an absolute? How determining is this fact? What status can things (eg. Paintings) have outside the commodity realm?
Painting has its inner worlds; its history makes it problematic but also provides the conventions and frameworks to sustain it (problematically).

Art needs to be problematic. Its very nature is problematic. Does this problematic nature need to be tempered by existential factors? What about pleasure?
The pleasure of making? The pleasure of viewing? Why shun these?

Painting is not one thing. It is not static. It is a confluence (a meeting place?).
Painting (as I see it) is pre-political. It is not sustained by circular critical theory in this sense. Can it lay the ground for kinds of experience from which we can learn (politically)? Crucially, painting can be a place where we can interact on many levels, especially at a phenomological level: forces, energy, synthesis, destruction, creation, openness, flow…

Dead Flowers

Dead Flowers, 2010, coloured pencil and collage on paper, 32.5 x 25 cm


Dublin - London

I have been away in Dublin and London. Returned recently. I saw a lot of things and spent time with good people, both family and friends. At the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin I saw for the first time Samuel Beckett's Film (1965). It is part of an exhibition called "The Moderns" that surveys Irish modernism in all its aspects. Film features Buster Keaton whom we only ever see from behind moving about a forlorn room and interacting with a number of objects. It was something of a revelation. There is a strange sense of being the viewer of the viewer. Here it is in two parts:

In London I was lucky enough to see the Paul Gauguin exhibition at Tate Modern (though I had to wade through unbearable crowds of people all shuffling around with their gaze lowered into audio/visual guides). The earlier works in the exhibition and some of the landscapes are extraordinary things, the way they are constructed, the use of colour, the strange compositions, the curved forms which overlap and interlock - and painted with feathery strokes which seem to activate the forms in some way, the space which is neither flat nor has depth in a conventional sense, the hybrid imagery so original yet obscure... and I could go on. Much is made of the figures; the girls and women. These are the motifs in many of the later paintings. I think it is important the way they are flattened and intersect or lock into the landscape around them. A single tree will often divide a landscape almost in the middle of the painting....an ancestor perhaps of a similar motif in my recent paintings and drawings: the spine.
Another day I ventured up the Finchley Road to the Camden Arts Center to see an exhibition of paintings by Rene Daniëls. I first discovered the work of Daniëls when I was still a student and it made a big impression on me. Occasions to view his work are very rare nowadays and though this was just a relatively small selection of paintings it is nevertheless a special opportunity to experience something of his painterly world: populated by such things as bow ties that become perspectival rooms, rats on skateboards, coat hangers, red landscapes, shoals of fish, trees with words for leaves... I saw the exhibition with another artist; Nick Miller. Talking of painting and its task he said that it is an adventure, in Daniëls this adventure with its risk and openness is at the core of what he does and is not without a certain irony and this in turn, I feel, defines their self-conscious poetry.
Zonder Title (Untitled), 1983, Oil on canvas © the artist
Courtesy of Paul Andriesse
Wandering around the West End galleries I came across a show of paintings by Beatriz Milhazes at Stephen Friedman Gallery. Somehow, like certain kinds of music (Jazz perhaps), they embody a hard won Joy. The technicality of their making (which must be elaborate) does not make them cumbersome - which is always a danger. Instead their geometry is fluid and festive. I was quite thrilled by them... I was lifted from an incipient melancholy that had been with me for most of the day. We know now (more than ever before) just how vast and terrifying those infinite spaces are that Blaise Pascal meditated upon. We know that from the perspective of the universe we are quite literally nothing, specs of insignificance. But we have to live our lives (we are condemned by our condition and physicality to do so) from the inside of our bodies and minds outwards. We have our own scale of experience, tempered by death, which highlights the extreme particularity of our created things. Against the backdrop of an impersonal universe and spans of time that are almost incomprehensible, there seems to be an extreme tension in the mere fact of the existence of say the music of Bach or the art of painting - so defined by its nuance and extremely specific qualities. A line is drawn in pencil...softly on the paper, a yellow smudge is placed in an instant on the canvas with an old brush, a small irregular piece of dark cloth is glued on the surface of the painting... there is a tension of scale, a dread and an awareness of fragility, of the sheer possible insignificance of what we are doing. This is the case in all our endeavours of course, but it is especially apparent in those that by nature, are willed into being even though we know they have no practical use or certain outcome. Why do we, as a species, as creatures and beings, have this capacity (is it a gift?), which in its most accomplished forms gives us the music of Bach or the paintings of Matisse?



Due to the increasing number of spam email I have been receiving the comments feature of this blog will be disabled for the time being. I very much appreciate all the genuine comments people have made and it is still possible to contact me if need be using the contact form here.

New drawings

Over the last few months I have been making a lot of drawings which frequently use collage. Here are four of them....

Festive, 2010, coloured pencil and collage on paper, 32.5 x 25 cm

Dispersal, 2010, coloured pencil and collage on paper, 32.5 x 25 cm

October (afternoon), 2010, coloured pencil on paper, 32.5 x 25 cm
Festive II, 2010, coloured pencil and collage on paper, 32.5 x 25 cm


Upcoming show - Informal Relations

Informal Relations: curated by Scott Grow
Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art
Dec 3, 2010 – Jan 15, 2011
Patrick Alt, Chris Ashley, Patrick Berran, Kadar Brock, Matthew Deleget, Laura Fayer, Keltie Ferris, Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, Connie Goldman, Brent Hallard, Rachel Hayes, Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Michael Just, Matthew Langley, Jim Lee, Rossana Martinez, Rob Nadeau, Melissa Oresky, Paul Pagk, Danielle Riede, Maximillian Rodel, Eric Sall, Susan Scott, Gabriel J. Shuldiner, Jessica Snow, Henning Straßburger, Garth Weiser, Wendy White, Paige Williams, Douglas Witmer, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, John Zurier.


Through a window...

A view through the window of a Cafe in Bilbao the other day...I liked the way the plant fragmented my vision:


Things seen: Natasja Kensmil

Natasja Kensmil, Untitled, 2001, 150x120cm

The crux, experience and idea...

A partially completed drawing by Goethe included in his 1790 “Zur Morphologie”

"They arrive at Schiller's house and, still talking, Goethe enters. This is Goethe's account of the occasion: 'I explained to him with great vivacity the Metamorphosis of Plants and, with a few characteristic strokes of the pen, conjured up before his eyes a symbolical plant. He listened, and looked at it all with great interest and intelligence; but when I had ended, he shook his head saying: This has nothing to do with experience, it is an idea. I raised my eyebrows, somewhat annoyed. For he had put his finger on precisely the point which separated us. His argument from Anmut und Würde came to my mind; the old anger began to stir, but I constrained myself and replied: Well, so much the better; it means that I have ideas without knowing it, and can even see them with my eyes.' They carried on their discussion with great polemical obstinacy on each side. Goethe reports that some of Schiller's sentences made him 'quite unhappy'; for instance, the following: 'How can one ever equate experience with ideas? For an idea is characterized precisely by the fact that experience can never be fully congruous to it.' And, Goethe, in his account of the discussion, reflects that 'if he takes for an idea what for me is experience, then there must, after all, prevail some mediation, some relationship between the two'.

From The Disinherited Mind: Essays in Modern German Literature and Thought by Eric Heller.


Some Walls

Patrick Michael Fitzgerald: “New Paintings & Drawings”
October 2 – November 21, 2010

At Some Walls - a curatorial and writing art project in Oakland, California.

Peso (Verde) - 2010



A little painting (now belonging to a good friend) made over the summer: Untitled, 2010, oil on canvas, 27x22cm.


Things have been somewhat quiet here on the blog in recent weeks. Energy seems to be focused elsewhere... but it's time to continue, the need is there. A number of new paintings (and drawings) have been slowly evolving over the summer months. Here are a few fragments and details...more images will follow soon:



"A man's maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play"

Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil


The painter should learn to trust his body.

Secret Motivations

I have found that painting most betrays its secret motivations when it deals with things strictly on its own terms. Only then did I understand that it (my painting activity) is to do with the most commonplace stuff of our daily life, and in the most intimate ways: the problems in painting reflect our experience of life. What we inevitably lose in life we attempt to recover in a transfigured way in painting.

The hazard

There is always a danger of becoming a parody of oneself.


At stake...

There is a very fine line between the worst possible piece of absolute trash and a wonderful painting. It is pure idiocy to talk of a painter who knows or doesn’t know how to paint. A painter who comes to realize what is really at stake in his daily activity has learnt how to value that which is constantly being found by chance or otherwise.



A number of reviews have appeared related to my recent shows in Dublin and Brussels.
Here they are along with links to the publications etc.:

Published in the Brooklyn Rail, July/August 2010 www.brooklynrail.net

Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, Drawings.

By John Yau


Guest Room/Contemporary Art is the brainchild of Nicolas Lemmens and Olivia Delwart. Situated in a quiet neighborhood on top of a hill in what is known as upper Brussels (there are two levels to the city), the gallery is a small white cube facing onto the street; it is open Wednesday and Saturday from 2:00 to 6:00 pm, and by appointment. The artist’s bio and checklist, as well as copies of catalogs, are lined up on the inside window ledge and are easily visible to the passerby who stops to look inside the window (it is lit up at night until 12:00 p.m.), and is curious to know more. According to Lemmens, the literature is meant to get people interested, without putting any pressure on them. After all, if you step inside, you would literally be coming for your second look and, one assumes, a more intimate engagement.

The eighth exhibition (or Guest #8) was of the drawings of Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, an Irish artist who lives and works in Vizcaya, outside Bilbao, Spain. In an e-mail conversation with Chris Ashley, an artist who directs Some Walls a curatorial and writing art project in Oakland (CA), Fitzgerald wrote: I still believe that painting can respond directly to the world of things, experience, and “reality” on its own terms. Many of the drawings were done in 2009, while Fitzgerald was an Artist in Residence in Andratx, Majorca. Done in colored pencil, ink, and collage, all the drawings are vertical and approximately 12 by 9 inches. The inspiration behind them seems to be the place where they were made. The starting point for the “Andratx” drawings, as many of them are titled, is something ordinary—a tree, evening light, and shadow.

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. For Fitzgerald, drawing isn’t only a surface waiting to register the artist’s marks; it is a thing. In some cases, it isn’t hard to make an equation between the drawing and its title, but to try and locate the works only within the discursive realm is to miss their strength.

Fitzgerald believes drawing is a construction that explores the tension between structure and dissolution. In Andratx (Pools, Thoughts), 2009, he partitions the drawing with three red lines into three areas, with the one along the bottom further divided by a diagonal red line rising from near the left corner. The diagonal, interacting with another right above it, turns the areas they enclose into tilting planes, and, at the same time, introduces a spatial possibility that Fitzgerald builds upon with a bluish-purple form across the drawing’s lower half. Rounded brown shapes packed closely together share the same plane as the bluish-purple shape (the pool?). Over this field, Fitzgerald attaches perfect circles done in different shades of blue, gray, and magenta, as well as two cut from a printed page of blue and black. These circles compel us to read the drawing tactilely, as well as visually. They pull our attention in, even as they become a disruption.

For all the deliberate thought that goes into these drawings, they feel neither restrained nor governed by an overriding goal. In fact, they feel like something the artist found. Each drawing is made up of a different group of colors, and the shapes and marks feel intrinsic to the drawing. Sometimes the way a bar-like shape overlays another evokes the possibility that the artist used tape to decide where something goes; this recalls for me the late works of Piet Mondrian. 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 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.

© Brooklyn Rail & John Yau 2010

Click on image to read:

L'abstraction aux limites de la non figuration, Claude Lorent, Libre Belgique - Artes Libre, July 2nd.

Speed, energy and intensity - Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, May 12th 2010.

BIHOTZ, THE title of Patrick Michael Fitzgerald’s exhibition at the Rubicon Gallery, is the Basque word for heart, both anatomically and figuratively speaking. Fitzgerald’s work is about the self’s engagement with the world, both the physical self and the thinking, feeling self, the essence of personal identity. The paintings themselves are abstract, although they do evoke spaces and systems including, as a catalogue note mentions, the biological system that is the human body. All of this is conveyed with great verve, inventiveness and wit.

Fitzgerald is not a representational artist, though. He doesn’t make pictures that resemble the way things look. He makes pictures that correlate to the way things are, or theories we have about the way things are. One suspects that there are people who just would not get his work at all, who could not really relate to it, and not because of any lack on the part of either the work or the people. What he does emerges from a dialogue between sets of conventions and possibilities. That is, he uses the language of painting and drawing rather in the way that a musician will use an inherited tradition.

The tension that arises from the combination of predictability and unpredictability makes the work interesting. If you have no familiarity with or liking for a particular musical form or, in Fitzgerald’s case, abstract painting, you are unlikely to be persuaded. So his potential audience is likely to be specialised and to that extent limited. He’s not an especially Irish artist. There’s a distinctly international flavour to what he does. In fact, although he was born in Ireland, he attended Chelsea College of Art in London, and he is based in northern Spain, close to Bilbao – hence the show’s Basque title. And in that demanding international context, his work is easily as good as anything you’re likely to find.

© Irish Times & Aidan Dunne 2010

En proceso...

Fortunately, my studio stays cool. Outside it might be over 30 degrees but I can still work in a pleasant enough environment, my studio is on street level and never gets the full impact of the sun. Over the last month or so, I have been working on a number of both large and small paintings...here are a few images. All these paintings are are in process, some nearer completion than others:


New Publication

A new book focusing on recent work has just been published by Rubicon Gallery:
Paintings and drawings by Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, 65 pages, with a text by Frank Lubbers.
ISBN 978-0-9554084-9-6. Here is an image of the cover...

Studio today...

A view of my studio this morning with three works currently in progress. The large white painting is indeed very large for me: 180x160cm !

Jan Fyt

This wonderful painting by Jan Fyt (1611-1661) "Les champignons" is in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels... it reminds one of the serious pleasure (and hope) that certain paintings can provide. Many thanks to Frank Lubbers for pointing it out to me.


Wild Speculation

"I Believe in a world that objectively exists, and which I, in a wildly speculative way, am trying to capture"

Albert Einstein


Rue Renier Chalon

Here is a video of my current exhibition of drawings (and one painting) at Guest Room in Brussels. It's not the best quality video but it gives an idea of the installation and the included works: