REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS
GEOFORM - An Interview with Astrid Fitzgerald
THE POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL - 4/10/2013 - INTERVIEW ARTWORK EXPLORES PHILOSOPHICAL GEOMETRY
LoRiverArts Gallery, Beacon, NY - Astrid Fitzgerald & Kotani - 2005 - Gallery Notes
Astrid Fitzgerald & Kotani:
The Mountain Way and the River Way
For a year I dreamed of this exhibition without knowing what would come to light when the works of Fitzgerald and Kotani would at last occupy the same space. Would there be some mutual clarification of methods and aims? Would there be uneasiness, as when followers of different schools unexpectedly meet? I knew only that the work of both artists is formidably rich, superbly crafted, and dedicated – dedicated in the sense that these artists serve visions and values. Their work records intuitions of the larger context of our lives.
Over the coming weeks, this exhibition is sure to reveal more. But this much is now clear: she takes the mountain way, he takes the river way.
What is the mountain way? The phrase is a metaphor for the rigorous exploration of spiritual traditions and of the spiritual in art, in which Fitzgerald has engaged for many decades. Few artists have a comparable understanding of the steady rightness and dynamic expressiveness of the so-called Golden Mean proportion, which discreetly orders many of her compositions. Not so many have looked upon spiritual tradition, from its meditative practices to its soaring concepts of human identity and potential, as simply the sensible place to seek guidance, inspiration, groundedness. The mountain way is deliberate, arduous, sometimes backbreaking and discouraging. Yet it links one with indescribable intimacy to untold generations past who have followed that way and achieved so much. Fitzgerald brings to this exhibition transformations of Western medieval patterns and of the Tantric patterns of Asia. But she is equally immersed in the traditions of Cubist and Constructivist design, to which she gives new life.
The mountain way is not all hard. Just as there are incredible delights along mountain paths – woodland flowers, edible plants, bird song, cliffs and waterfalls, and at the summit perhaps an alpine garden of rare species – so along the artist’s mountain way there are many delights. All this is evident in Fitzgerald’s art, where we can find it.
Kotani takes the river way, equally valid and rewarding. It is the way of intuition and allusion, whisper and hum, interpenetration and flow. Its basis in craft discipline – in knowing brush, paint, and canvas, line, light, and shadow through decades of effort – is rigorous. In that respect the river way and mountain way are one. But the river way forgets in order to remember; abandons concept to discover unexpected signs and motions; feels certain in paradox; prizes sheer visual delight as a kind of wisdom, a godly celebration. It flows on. It does not wait for our questions. What is the hymn number we’re supposed to be singing? Sorry – no hymn, no number, but listen! See!
The river way is by no means all soft, indistinct, and flowing. Those who venture onto the river had better build a solid vessel, study winds and currents and shifting sandbars, and know their landmarks. Otherwise, they can easily drown while imagining that they are just having a recreational swim. The river way demands an odd sort of toughness. As an honored friend of mine used to say, "let us not conclude…" That is the river way.
Kotani’s practice catches up many values in its flow – among them, the brush traditions and meticulous craftsmanship of his native Japan, the visual poetry of American color-field painting, the ingenious storytelling of Surrealism, and the formal perceptions of a trained ceramic artist (he has taught both painting and ceramics for decades). On the river way, unlike things make a whole.
"Let us not conclude." But let us by all means explore a shared exhibition in Beacon that offers more of substance and delight than streets full of galleries in a city to the south. - Roger Lipsey, PhD
Roger Lipsey, a resident of nearby Garrison, New York, is the author of The Spiritual in Twentieth-Century Art (Dover Books, reissued 2004). He is currently writing a book on Thomas Merton’s Abstract Expressionist drawings of the 1960s.
PULSE Magazine, Beacon NY - Interview, April 2005
About the Artist Astrid Fitzgerald
by John Nelson
Astrid Fitzgerald’s work is deeply rooted in geometry and spirituality. Beginning on April 2, Fitzgerald will join Japanese artist Kotani for a joint exhibit of their work at LoRiver Arts Gallery, 530 Main Street, Beacon. The show, which will remain on view through May 2, will have an opening reception on April 2.
John Nelson (JN): Tell me about yourself.
Astrid Fitzgerald (AF): I came to the States in1961, dreaming about going to Alaska. But I got stuck in Manhattan, and after a few jobs in advertising, went to Art Student’s League and Pratt. After being accepted into a few juried shows and winning some awards, I began to paint full-time, while raising a son and spending a lot of time reading the great books of the Perennial Philosophy. During the hay-days of corporate collecting, agents and curators all over the States placed my work in important collections and commissioned many site-specific works. I’ve shown my work in solo-exhibitions in Switzerland and New York City, and in traveling group exhibitions around the world. My last show was at the Muroff Kottler Visual Arts Gallery at SUNY Ulster. I’m very excited about showing my work together with Kotani’s in Beacon - this exciting new art center in the Hudson Valley.
JN: What is your artistic medium of choice? Why that medium?
AF: I can't say that I prefer one medium over another. For many years I used Casein - a medium that goes back to the Ancient Egyptians - for it's luminosity and versatility. When my work wanted to become more expressive and spontaneous, I went to oil sticks and pastels. But there is nothing like the brush and oil paint to give expression to more subtle emotions - to the inner visions. Most recently I've used Encaustic, made from pure beeswax and pigment, which, by its very nature, led to the use of imagery in a series that is a kind of tribute to icons expressing an on-going search into the nature of things.
JN: Your recent works is based on the "Golden Mean" proportions. Could you tell us a little about that?
AF: Actually, I began to work with geometric forms in the early seventies, which then led to the study of philosophical geometry, including the Platonic Solids and the Golden Mean proportions. The Golden Section is a universal principle underlying nature from the DNA-spiral to our galaxy. Its harmonious proportions and mathematical enigma have fascinated philosophers and architects for thousands of years, most recently during the Renaissance. In some of my new work, I used Da Vinci’s drawings of the Platonic Solids - the most exquisite renderings we know of.
JN: What do you think the most important thing is for an artist to learn, technically speaking?
AF: I think an artist should be very familiar with the medium, its possibilities, limitations and archival properties. When it comes to technique in painting, I think an artist can only be taught by someone else to a certain point. Artists usually realize when they "know what they are doing" and when it’s time to chuck out learned techniques, and rules and modes.
JN: Do you see yourself in your artwork? How?
AF: I’m not terribly identified with my work, and therefore don’t take criticism very personally. As it is, I don’t have much to do with what comes out of me. But the artwork does express my interests and passions, and, of course, my state of consciousness at the time of painting. To me painting is a spiritual pursuit - a means to self-knowledge - not much different from actively engaging in a spiritual exercise or a monastic way of life.
JN: What motivates your creative ideas and creative activity?
AF: That has varied quite a bit over time. I’ve known times of "creative frenzy" when nothing else in the world mattered, when I was driven by an "inner necessity" to create, to make something beautiful, or to express something deeply felt in meditation. Then there have been times when I’ve questioned what I was doing, when I looked to other artists for inspiration - to Kandinsky, Mondrian, Klee, Rothko, Nicholson, and others. Questioning the current state of the visual arts brought about an extensive period of reflection, which resulted in a book: "An Artist’s Book of Inspiration - A Collection of Thoughts on Art, Artist’s and Creativity."
JN: You were born in Switzerland and exhibit your work there often. What are some of the differences between the art worlds in Europe and America?
AF: My exhibitions in Switzerland have been very successful, mostly because there is a deep appreciation of abstract art. In Europe ordinary people know how to look at art. Somehow it must be in their genes. When they see something that speaks to them, they want it and buy it. In America contemporary art has to have the stamp of approval by a major critic before collectors rush to the gallery to invest in the latest trend. It’s really sad that true artists who create "quiet art" all around America are not given much exposure. But there was one good thing in the States during the Eighties and early Nineties: corporate art collections, which is where much of my work ended up. And, of course, we have the enjoyment of some of the best art museums in the world. But we desperately need an administration that is friendlier towards the Arts.
JN: Who were and who are your favorite artists and why?
AF: Well, my favorite artists changed many times over my artistic career. But to this day some of the cubists remain my favorites. I was also deeply influenced by "An Art of our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth Century Art" by Roger Lipsey, an art historian, who lives in Garrison. It was at his suggestion that the work of Kotani and mine are being shown together. Some of my favorite artists right now happen to be people who work with nature. I love Andy Goldsworthy’s work because it’s incredibly beautiful, yet ephemeral. He creates events that celebrate nature and awakens people, who have forgotten how to wonder at its beauty and mystery. For the same reason I like James Turrell, who is creating an enormous earthwork in a dormant crater in the Arizona desert. This mind-boggling monument, if it ever gets finished, will have shafts aligning with astrological events, where people can sit and watch the sunlight shift during the day and contemplate the stars at night. Christo’s "The Gates" and the thousands of people who came from all over the world for the opening day in Central Park was also a surprisingly moving and unifying experience.
JN: Describe yourself in one word. Why that word?
AF: That’s a tough one. I wear many hats. Can we leave it at that?
JN: Would you give us your personal definition of Art?
AF: In order to qualify for Art with a capital "A" - be it music, architecture, dance, painting or religious icon - it must have the power to move . . . to open the heart of the viewers, to lift them, for a while, out of their every-day concerns.
Woodstock Times, Woostock, NY - November 16, 2000 -Exhibition Review
Probing the mysteries
ASTRID FITZGERALD: COSMIC MEASURES
MUROFF KOTLER GALLERY, UCCC, STONE RIDGE, NY
Astrid Fitzgerald has a studio in New York City and one in Kerhonkson, where the majority of the work in her present show, Cosmic Measures, was made. The work can be seen at the Muroff Kotler Visual Arts Gallery at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge.
Fitzgerald was born in Switzerland, immigrating to the United States in 1961. She attended the Pratt Graphics Center and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, as well as some years earlier studying at the Arts Students League.For almost 20 years Fitzgerald has taken as a starting point for her work the concept of the Golden Mean, a system of geometric proportion mathematically formulated since Pythagorean times. This, plus an abiding interest in Quantum physics and the unified field, are the scientific tethers for her work.
One of the major innovators of the modern art movement, Wassily Kandinsky (1866-l944), has been an inspirational influence for Fitzgerald. Intriguingly, it appears Kandinsky has helped direct Fitzgerald back through the Golden Section to the geometric mysteries revered by the ancients and replete within nature. Kandinsky, coming to prominence a few years before the Russian Revolution of 1917, for a while was part of it, running art schools that extolled geometric design and abstraction (this before the Stalinist crackdown that excluded all art that didn't follow the socialist realist guidelines) in the artistic intellectual exodus that followed. Kandinsky had a profound influence upon Gropius and the Bauhaus School, which in turn gave birth to the "Basic Design" course that became the official backbone of art school education in both Europe and America and is a heritage to this day. Around this time, Kandinsky's book, Concerning The Spiritual in Art, passionately acclaimed abstract art as the way to the "soul" of art and expression. Indeed it could be argued that although Cubism, manifesting around the same time in Paris, irrevocably shattered the smooth-as-glass Victorian art picture plane already torqued by the Impressionists and Fauves, it was Abstractionism out of Russia that had a stronger cultural effect, fertilizing the ascendancy of American abstract art through the '50s, leading to the feet-on-the-ground, painted-from-the-hip, libidinal splattered gems of Jackson Pollock.
Fitzgerald, although having a quieter, less stormy, more rational take on the Golden Mean, comes out of this modernist tradition as well as hearkening back to the ancients by investing the incontrovertible yet mysterious measurements (in her works on paper) with a stippled, layered juxtaposition of pastels reminiscent of Seurat. Points of light flare and darken at the perimeters of the timeless, circular forms, traces hinting of yin and yang, stillness, infinity, potential....
On the two side walls of the gallery are a series of constructions made of wood. One is sawn into triadic rectangles, upon which are incised the circle and the triangle; some of these shapes are gold-leafed, glittering drunk with light against somber purples and umbers, emotive tones recalling the artist's visit to Knossos, Greece. In another construction the dying embers of a Mediterranean sun set, drowning red, speckled with the coalescing black of the falling night. Traces of an ancient Greece flicker in the undulating geometry. Those students at present paralyzed in the grip of their geometry classes might get a jolt of vision and energy from Fitzgerald's interpretations.On the wall to your left facing you as you leave the room are three works, all untitled, of casein on masonite, basically black-and-white, one with a little red ocher cast like an oxide rainbow against the incised geometry. These images are less circular, more edgy. Betwixt black and white we wander tonally in the grays, Fitzgerald appears to be risking her hold on the sacred. Is there a hint of the profane? A scratch, a jag, an imperfection? Perhaps it's in here, the space between concepts, that possibility may lie. At times the artist seems to be talking at the work. In these pieces, the art seems to be defiantly and definitely talking back, which is good to hear. Astrid Fitzgerald also has her book, An Artist's Book of Inspiration: A Collection of Thoughts on Art, Artists and Creativity, for perusal at the exhibition. Fitzgerald's work can also be viewed on line at www.astridFitzgerald.com
Fitzgerald has taken us on a journey. Her work, though formally modern enough for a few gallery visiting students "not to get," is actually rife with natural law. Her work is an echo of the sun setting over Stone Ridge as we leave, of the make-up of the surrounding trees, of our own spiraling D.N.A.Perhaps, what by some is seen as unrelated cerebral, conceptual abstraction is really at home and rooted in the natural world - the falling autumn seeds curving, whirling in the wind, rustling off our orbed planet. Fitzgerald helps return us to the quiet, the balance, the harmony within all.
++Adrian Frost, Art Critic
Kunstgalerie HYPOSWISS, Zurich, Switzerland
Bilder und Objekte von Astrid Fitzgerald
Laudatio der Vernissage, 24. Januar 1996 von Frau Dr. Ziba De Week
Wir sind zahlreich hier, um Astrid Fitzgeralds künstlerischem Schaffen näherzukommen. Was tun wir dafür? Wir laufen von einer Räumlichkeit, wo ihre Arbeit ausgestelt ist, zur anderen stehen vor jedem Bild und versuchen uns damit auseinanderzusetzen. Danach werfen wir einen raschen Blick auf den Titel des Werkes, natürlich wir wollen sicher sein, dass wir bei dieser Endeckungsreise auf dem richtigen Weg sind. Was bedeuten Titel wie Paros, St. Torini oder Der goldene Schitt? Beziehen sie sich auf bestimmte Darstellungen oder rufen sie Assoziationen hervor? Und wie steht es mit der Ästetik in diesen Werken?
1981 sah ich zum ersten Mal Astrids Werk. Der Anlass war die Besichtingung der Kunstsammlung einer Firma in New York. Bilder von mehreren Künstlern hingen überall an den Wänden, aber an einer sehr auffallenden Wand, links neben der Einganstür und gleichzeitig gegenüber einer Treppe, die zum oberen und unteren Stock führte, hingen zwei grossofrmatige Werke auf Papier. Vom ästehtischen Blick Punkt her waren sie sehr gefällig. Diese Bilder mit den lockeren Bleistiftstrichen in Tönen wie Braun, Ocker, Gelb und Beige auf den grossen Rechtecken ähnelten fast der abstrakten Darstellung eines reifen und goldenen Getreidefeldes, das, so schien es, einer Spätnachmittagssonne und einem leichten Wind ausgesetzt war. Sie strahlten eine seltene Art von Harmonie und Gleichgewicht aus, und verbreiteten Frieden. Für einige waren siese sicher nur angenehmen Bilder, die zufällig dort hingen, für andere aber, hingen sie an dieser Wand, weil sie etwas Besonderes besassen. Die Entscheidung der Kuratorin schien mir klar.
Heute, fünfzehn Jahre später verfügt Astrids Werk immer noch über denselben Gleichgewichtseffekt und dieselbe Harmonie. Das ist eine Kraft, die, wie wir es in jedem Werk dieser Ausstellung wahrnehmen können, versucht, stets die Vergangenheit mit der Zukunft; die Ordnung mit dem Chaos; die Stabilität mit der Unstabilität; die Konzentration mit der Zerstreuung; die bildene Kunst mit den anderen Kunstgattungen und schliesslich die westliche Kultur mit der ostlichen zu verknüpfen. Das ist genau das wesentliche in Astrids Arbeit. Ihr Ziel bleibt unverändert, es ist nur das Mittel, dass sich bei jeder Phase ihres künstlerischen Schaffens ändert.
Als belesene Künstlerin lässt sich Astrid von allen Kulturen und von allen Kunstgattungen inspirieren. In diesem Fall können wir annehmen, dass die Titel wie Paros, St. Torini und der goldenen Schnitt nicht nur auf die griechischen Inseln und auf das alte griechische Proportionskonzept hinweisen, sonder auch auf die alte griechische Zivilsation, die immer noch unsere Kultur prägt, und schliesslich auf den Prozess dieser Verschmelzung.
Es sollte uns auch nicht mehr erstaunen, wenn Astrid ein Buch zusammenstellt, wie das bald erscheinende "The Artful Mind", stammen doch die Quellen, nicht nur aus der Kunst ihrer Zeit sondern aus der Kunst aller Zeiten, aus verschienen Kulturen, und auch aus anderen Kunstgattungen.
Trotz eines komplizierten Inhalts bleibt die Ästhetik in Astrids künstlerisches Schaffen schlicht, das heisst geometrisch und abstrakt. Häufig scheint uns, als ob die Pläne in Form von Rechteck und Kreis sich in einer völlig spontanene Weise überlappen, aber in Wirklichkeit die Überlappung kommt nicht von Ungefähr. Wie dies Pläne sich überdecken und wo sie sich kreuzen, ist beständig von dem alten Gesetz des goldenen Schnittes beherrscht, das Astrids Werk seit mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten stark beeinflusst hat.
Ob es das griechische Konzept vom goldenen Schnitt ist oder das vor kurzem in ihrem Werk erscheinende Konzept von Ying and Yang, alles bleibt für Astrid ineinanderverwoben. Deshalb sollten wir bei der Betrachtung von Astrids Bilder nie vergessen, dass der Inhalt sich auf ein universelles Bild bezieht, das mit der Menschheit und ihrer künstlerischen Kraft zu tun hat. Durch ihre Arbeit bringt uns Astrid auf den Weg, aber wir sollen selbst diese Entdeckungsreise unternehmen wollen.
- Ziba de Weck, PhD
Kunstgalerie Hyposwiss, Zurich, Switzerland 1996
Bilder und Objekte von Astrid Fitzgerald
Ausstellung von Astrid Fitzgerald
by Annamarie Stϋssi
Die Ausstellungen in den Empfangs- und Ruheräumen der Hyposwiss an der Zϋrcher Schϋtzengasse sind immer fϋr eine Überraschung gut. Neben arrivierten Kunstschaffenden werden auch weniger bekannte Kϋenstlerinnen und Kϋnstler vorgestellt. Letzteres trifft ganz besonders auf die gegenwärtige Ausstellung mit Werken von Astrid Fitzgerald-Huerlimann zu. Die Amerika-Schweizerin stammt zwar aus Wil, St. Gallen, lebt und arbeitet aber seit 30 Jahren hauptsächlich in New York und ist gleichwohl in ihrer Kunstauffassung Europäerin geblieben. Astrid Fitzgerald hat schon verschiedentlich auch in der Schweiz mit Erfolg ausgestellt, beispielsweise in der "Galerie Neue Kunst" in Wil, gleichwohl ist ihr Name in der amerikanischen Szene bekannter als bei uns.Astrid Fitzgerald’s Werke sind in ihrer Grundstruktur der Geometrie verpflichtet, in der Gestaltung der von Linien begrenzten Felder kommt allerdings öfters auch eine sensible und bewegte malerische Gestaltung zum Ausdruck. Arbeiten auf Papier dominieren die Ausstellung, doch auch Holz, zu einer Art Reliefs verarbeitet, spielt eine wichtige Rolle. Ein Schlϋsselwort in der Bildsprache von Astrid Fitzgerald ist der Begriff ‘Gold’. Nicht nur ist sie immer wieder dem ‘Goldenen Schnitt’ und der daraus resultierenden Harmonie verpflichtet, auch Gold als Farbton taucht in verschiedenen Werken auf und gibt diesen einen gleichermassen festlichen wie auch spirituellen Charakter. An der Vernissage, die - wie immer bei der Hyposwiss - von zahlreichen Kader- und Direktonsmitgliedern besuch war, trafen wir u.a. auch den "Vater" der Ausstellungen, Direktor Dr. Franz Ruf sowie Generaldirektor Theodor Horat und Vizedirektorin Regina Tanner. Regelmässig besuchen auch Galeristinnen diese Ausstellungen, beispielsweise diesmal Brigitte Schönenberger, Wil, und Ursula Wiedenkeller, Zuerich. Die einfuehlsame Laudatio hielt Frau Dr. Ziba de Weck.- Annamarie Stϋssi
Pietrasanta Fine Arts, New York, NY - 1986
Astrid Fitzgerald - Paintings and Pastels
The Art of ASTRID FITZGERALD - New Images, Old Faith
by Roger Lipsey, PhD
A medieval image of God the Geometer shows the Creator bending over the world, inscribing its order with divine compasses. If I remember well, the world beneath Him is not a dry schema but already full of variety and unexpectedness, the waters beginning to pool and trickle, the land buckling into mountains and valleys. The world, ever since, has been a rational structure streaming with energies.
Abstract art since Cubism has lingered over this simple dual wholeness. Cubism itself, at the early states, energized the complex linear structure of its geometries with flickering brushstrokes that created a dramatic play of light and dark. Mondrian reduced the complexities of the early Cubist vision to an austere rectilinear grid, and many others after him have contributed their variations and insights to what deserves to be recognized as an enduring modern icon, in which a strong geometry speaks for Order while dynamic line or color manifest Energy. The image as a whole conveys a sense of completeness both as a design and as a thought. It is as much self-portrait as world-portrait, for at this degree of abstraction there is little if any distinction between ourselves and the world we live in.
That this icon has remained of compelling interest for so long and for so many artists bears witness to something healthy in our culture. Commentators point out our failings and the irrationality of the times; they are not wrong. But these quiet icons, produce from generation to generation (Mondrian 50 years ago, Rothko 30 years ago, Fitzgerald today), are signs of an underlying contemplativeness that will not settle for being rushed through a deformed world. The are, in the broadest sense, religious works in an irreligious time – respectful of the world and its order, respectful of human consciousness, ready to explore them both with a sense of privilege. The ground these days is not necessarily holy, but one takes off one’s shoes. It is a beginning.
In her work since 1982, Astrid Fitzgerald has renewed the icon of structure and energy. More singlemindedly than the original Cubists, many of whom exhibited under the name "Section d'Or" in the early days, she bases her compositions on the Golden Section, a proportion discovered millennia ago, utilized by architects and designers and observed in many natural forms, notably the nautilus shell. Not only man but Nature knows the Golden Section. A key to harmonious design, it is also a symbol or condensed expression of universal order. We cannot be certain that it runs through the world at all levels of organization – will any familiar mathematics show up in the patterns revealed by particle physics? – but it is widespread enough in Nature to command respect.
The harmoniously related squares, rectangles, arcs, and circles generated by the Golden Section provide Fitzgerald with a stable composition which she then freely alters and activates, creating contrasts of light and dark, deep space and surface. Some areas reflect light brilliantly, others capture it and draw the viewer’s attention into quiet zones. A repeated notation for Energy at times resembles the curved shaft of wheat of the dense patterns of schooling fish; it churns across the stately abstraction of the Golden Section, not challenging it but conferring life.
Fitzgerald’s images are new, but the faith they draw from is old – as old as Cubism, the first instinctively metaphysical art of our century. But still older, and finally Platonic in content and voice. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, speaks in many ways. One of its most penetrating expressions is images made by thoughtful men and women, who offer equivalents in line, light, and space, of intuitions that we had forgotten we believe.
Roger Lipsey, Ph.D. is the author of The Spiritual in Twentieth-Century Art and Angelic Mistakes - The Art of Thomas Merton. He has also published a biography of A.K. Coomaraswamy and edited A.K. Coomarasway: Selected Papers (3 vols. Princeton 1977).
Galerie Neue Kunst, Wil, St. Gallen, Switzerland - 1993
Im Goldenen Schnitt - Arbeiten auf Holz und Papier
Whether in the paintings, drawings, or wall-constructions of Astrid Fitzgerald, the work emanates a sense of logic and clarity that belies the artistic endeavor and challenge standing behind their creation. For over a decade, Fitzgerald has taken as basis for her work the concept of "the Golden Mean," a System of ideal geometric proportions known to man as early as the Pythagorean time. But her recent series of wall-constructions that constitute the core pieces in this exhibition – reminders of Fitzgerald’s recent trip to the Cycladic Islands – evoke new feelings and associative meanings.
In Milos II, 1991, the frontality of the two gilded wood triangles, placed centrally and balanced perfectly on a dark background engenders a terrific iconic formality and elegance. We stand physically in front of the work, but in feelings we are far away from it. At most we may visualize the crescent-shaped Island – the home of the celebrated Venus – with its arid landscape shining eternally like a golden leaf under the intense Mediterranean sun and isolated from our continent by a vast, blue sea – aloof and timeless in its existence. Thira, a much less formal work than Milos, is formed by an intricate arrangement of several wood rectangles and half-moon elements. The assemblage certainly satisfies Fitzgerald’s spartan requirement, and the work functions within the concept of the Golden Mean, but the viewer may as well indulge in the playfulness of the shapes, and the associative meanings their arrangement brings about. Like the unusual Island of Thira (Santorini), where dwellings look as if they were loosely hooked on the hills, here the elements barely support each other, and look as if their fall were imminent. Finally in the Paros series, shapes and colors – always restricted in Fitzgerald’s work – overlap in a myriad of ways to satisfy the artist’s criteria for balance, but each work, in its own way, refers as well to the spirit of Paros.
Timeless, and true to themselves, very much in the same way these fabled Greek Islands are, so are Fitzgerald’s creations. Her oeuvre enables us to view and appreciate fresh expressions of some ancient thoughts. - Ziba de Weck, PhD
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