The first solo exhibition by the Toronto artist. Three new, large paintings and a colour photograph. The subject matter of the paintings range from a monumental Cartier bracelet and a Fabergé Egg ornamented by a rose trellis, to the largest work, at nine by nine feet, entitled “Sir Elton John’s Sunglasses, Woodside Estate, Old Windsor, England”. The photograph is an image that has been freely appropriated from the Hubble Telescope and depicts a particular star-birthing region known as “The Eta Carinae Nebula, NGC 3372”. This sublime event is shown in distinct, celestial contrast to the man-made, material indulgences depicted in the paintings. Each of the paintings has been made using acrylic paint and caulking in a slow, precise method that FitzGerald has refined in his studio over several years, although the total number of paintings made in this manner is less than fifteen given their scale and complexity. The process involves researching suitable imagery, manipulating it with software, making a large-scale acetate transfer onto canvas and then using clear caulking to delineate areas of pure colour so that the image is built up slowly in a manner that resembles a kind of pointillism filtered into vector graphics. FitzGerald’s largest painting to date, “The Hacker-Pschorr Beerhall, Oktoberfest, Munich” (2005), at twelve feet wide by eighteen feet high, took the artist more than three years to complete. Other subjects include “The Throne Room, Queluz National Palace, Lisbon” (2009) and “Table Decorations, Oprah Winfrey Party for Sidney Poitier” (2006), both now in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Another large painting, “The Dining Room of The Regina d’Italia (Stefano Gabbana’s Yacht)” (2008), was shown for the first time in a group show at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art later that same year and generated significant interest.
Of his work and his process, the artist has written that “the images that interest me are symmetrically organized, complex masses of objects that assume fractal-like forms. These opulent interiors and luxury objects not only benefit from the rich texture and application of paint, they also closely align with my socio-political interests. I see myself as a contemporary court painter, documenting on a grand scale the material and spatial excesses of our time.”