The Ashford gallery presents a solo exhibition by distinguished Limerick artist Tom FitzGerald. Entitled A History of Silence the exhibition presents a wry examination of contemporary Ireland, combining political satire with an ironic personal vision. The exhibition which runs from April 27 – May 18 will include large scale drawings, 6 slate wall pieces, 2 wall mounted sculptures and a central large scale sculpture A Portable Pyramid.The mixed media drawings in this exhibition are beautifully drawn and require careful examination. They are intricately formed mapways into a surreal parrallel world, where the absurdities of public life in Ireland are lampooned. With titles such as Clouds of Toxic Managers Drift Slowly Westward and A Memorial to the Philsosphers’ Socks is finally Unveiled by the Mayor it is clear that humour is a key element in much of Fitzgerald’s work. The artist uses this humour as an effective tool to convey very real concerns on important social, political and environmental issues.
The Cathleen Ní Houlihan series consist of 6 circular slate carvings depicting a sensuous female figure with rounded curves and flowing hair. She is a metaphor for Mother Ireland and is depicted in a graphic, tribal style.
Fitzgerald’s wall mounted pieces and the central pyramid shaped sculpture reflect the artist’s interest with a myriad of subjects including alchemy, mechanics and form – how things work and are put together. Lung Bypass Device comes from the drawing Tobacco Industry supplies Adam & Eve with lung bypass technology. The sculpture manages to appear both whimsical and realistic with tubes that emerge from highly polished metal cylinders into a nebulous mound of wool. All are exceuted with precision, skill and a complete mastery of material.
Fitzgerald was Head of Sculpture in Limerick School of Art and Design from 1976 – 2000. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including The Ministry of Dust, 2004 which toured from Limerick City Gallery of Art to the Model Arts and Niland Gallery in Sligo. He is a regular exhibitor in the RHA Annual Exhibition and was an invited artist for the last 3 years. Fitzgerald has completed many public sculpture commissions including the well known Leaf Litany 1998 in the University of Limerick and The Numbers Game located in Limerick County Council headquarters.
He is currently completing a large scale cast bronze work Voyage of the Alchemist to be located in the port area of Dundalk, Co. Louth and has been invited to participate in this year’s Sculpture at Kells exhibition which will travel to Wales.