Friday, December 07, 2012

Tommy Fitzpatrick

Morph, 2012
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 48 inches repost

I always enjoy the precision and beauty of the hard-edge painting style, but I enjoy the style even more when the marks are very meaningful. Tommy Fitzpatrick creates paintings that are not purely abstract geometry, but he incorporates architecture to act as lattice work for his abstract art work.

Back in 2004, I was visiting schools all around Texas to look at art programs, when I ran across Fitzpatrick’s exhibition “Observations, 1997-2004” at Texas A&M Commerce. I saw, what appeared to be a photograph of a building on the card posted next to the gallery door and I had to get one of the office administrators to unlock the door. It opened into a room of very complex photorealist paintings that were the best I’d ever seen, outside of an art history book. I lost myself in each little small abstract that the rendered glass seemed to reflect. The extreme close-ups and angles of the structures made the realist imagery exciting and vibrant.

Fitzpatrick’s current show at Holly Johnson Gallery still has some of those interesting angles, but the close-ups are often even more extreme. To the point, his close-ups of architecture becomes abstract shapes and lines. He has also stripped away the buildings he rendered for a more blueprint look that explores the purity of a conceptualized structure. In a piece like “Morph,” I see a complex CAD design of an inventive internal beam system. I would like to throw in descriptions like, I-bean, girder, strut, and tie, but without the knowledge of a building engineer or architect, I think my attempt would fall short of telling the true nature of Fitzpatrick’s paintings.

You don’t necessarily have to be an architect to appreciate Fitzpatrick’s work. I find the painting “Structural Components,” black and white clean lines elegant and engaging. Usually an “X” composition across a painting is a big distraction, but he completely pulls this big taboo by incorporating other building structure elements. You then see the “X” in the natural context of a building, but you also start to appreciate the pure abstract lines and shapes. In fact, you will find the “X” a recurring theme of the show. “Close-up” has one, “Black Rhombus” features two, and there are several “X’s” in “Diagonal Grid.” Fitzpatrick really marks the spot with this treasure of paintings.

Find yourself at Holly Johnson Gallery to see Tommy Fitzpatrick’s show “Electric Labyrinth,” which will be on display until November 28th. for more images.


Lisa Fulton said...

Another really good post. I know it's best to see artwork in person, but of course that's hardly ever possible for many of us. So thank heaven for the internet and for energetic bloggers like yourself.

I googled images for Fitzpatrick, and enjoyed what I saw immensely. Even from that limited exposure, I feel that you have put your finger right on what it is that makes his art so good.

Todd Camplin said...

I can see how you might connect to Fitzpatrick's work. I see similar elements in you work. Thanks for the comment and I hope I can keep this driving all over Texas up when I get older.

Cameron Lawrence said...

This piece of art lookes amazing. It sends me into a trance the longer I stare at it. THis piece gives me sort of a three dimensional feel that I am running through the lines and cuts and bridges in the artwork.