Mary A. Fitzgerald: Swoon

Sunday 8 May – Monday 6 June 2022
Mary A. Fitzgerald, The Weight of Waiting, oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40cm | Mary A. Fitzgerald: Swoon | Sunday 8 May – Monday 6 June 2022 | Olivier Cornet Gallery
――― Venue + online ―――

Online in Gallery’s 3D Virtual Space 12 noon on Sunday 8 May 2022

The exhibition is accompanied by a small publication on the occasion of Swoon at the Olivier Cornet Gallery. With words by Beth O’Halloran. Design by David Joyce. First edition of 150 published by The Outside Press, 2022.


The Olivier Cornet Gallery is delighted to present Swoon, Mary A. Fitzgerald’s first solo exhibition with us. Mary is a member of our AGA group.

Mary A Fitzgerald’s paintings are born from her encounters with external spaces – her eyes gathering patches of colour, shifts in light, blurred shapes on passing buses. A yellow plastic bag ‘floating right at me.’ She does not take or work from photographs of the ephemera, rather she pays close attention. ‘Like trying to catch butterflies,’ she holds the glimpses, until she gets to the studio – relishing in the uncertainty, she paints the blending amalgam of fleeting daily life. In this way she aims to present the ‘slippage in between literal and emotional states.’

Rebecca Solnit writes, ‘The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates a consonance between internal and external passage that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.’ 

Fitzgerald’s paintings are visual recordings of this consonance between internal and external passage – whether on foot or on wheels. They may read as land or cityscapes, but the places depicted are conjured. The painting processes mirror her thinking – the surfaces are layered, patches of under-painting peek out to hint at hidden histories and time’s passage. Her love of printmaking processes is evident in the rubbing and dragging of paint. Shapes slip from the picture plane, suggesting the image is a slice of a bigger picture and on-going movement. Colour is a compass – blue is the North Star of the series. Then there are alizarin crimson, green-greys, teals with shots of neon pink and yellow and orange peppered throughout. The shapes are amorphous – often hinting at the cloudy space between structures rather than the solid thing itself. The images hover within a measure of unmarked space in which the viewer is invited to move around and feel the passage of time.

Sitting with Mary in her city-centre studio, the bustle of the streets below bleats through her open window. Sirens, shouts, footfall, the sighing of slowing buses – the pulse of the urban is the soundtrack she relishes working to. Yet, she is equally fed by rural or suburban environments. The journeying is the source and a primary concern is the ensuing meetings which she invites between the viewer and the work. Through her open-endedness and emotive titles – Bask, Follies, When Fate Brings You Yellow – she invites the viewer to complete the narrative within the soft edges of the work.

Fitzgerald’s paintings and their cohesion offer a plumb line of clarity through the flotsam of ever-shifting daily life experience. The intimate scale invites the viewer to step close, slow down and see a rhythm in the passing blur.

– Beth O’Halloran M.A.

Beth O Halloran is a visual artist and writer.

Image: Mary A. Fitzgerald, The Weight of Waiting, oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40cm
Sunday 8 May – Monday 6 June 2022
Olivier Cornet Gallery
3 Great Denmark Street
(beside Belvedere College)
Dublin 1
Telephone: +353 87 2887261
Opening hours / start times:
Tues to Fri: 11am to 6pm (till 8pm on Thursdays) • Sat & Sun: 12 noon to 5pm • Closed on Mondays (or viewing by appointment only)
Admission / price: Free

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