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I was born and raised on a dairy farm in the center of Wisconsin. From the time I was little, I have had the privilege of working in gardens, and being in the woods. I am connected to the earth when I share the conversation of growth with plants. My room of wonder is open; I can see the unanswered questions: how that plant migrated to a better location, how the other became something different after its 5-year mark. This sense of wonder is at the core of my work and the natural world continues to inform my wondering. In Wisconsin my garden has a resident pine snake. It is the keeper of the garden, minding all small rodents and surprising me. The garden is new and different every year.
“Karen Fitzgerald’s paintings transform matter into cosmic revelations.” – Michaël Amy
For 30 years I have been working exclusively in the tondo form. Roundness is fundamental to my visual thinking. The form is uniquely able to convey an essence of interconnection, wholeness and metaphysical purpose. For as long as I’ve worked on this form, I have felt that it is the right container for what I want to say. The energies within our physical world are interconnected; I am interested in the process of elucidating those interconnections through references to phenomenon in the natural world. I thin oil paint until it is in a fluid form, building up layers and producing a luminous, subtle, rich surface. The paint is added on top of a gilded surface. The gilded ground, whether copper, silver, 23k gold or 12k gold provides a distinctly “other-worldly” space. It evokes a universal space including our physical plane.
Light suffuses our world – its energy shapes the mood of each day. I use color as pure light, physical energy, creating complex shades and tones that reconnect energies present in the everyday world with my own as well as viewers’ experiences. My work gives you a way to have a visual experience of your own energy. Similar to looking in a mirror, when you look into one of my paintings, you respond to the color, nuance and energy embedded in the piece. I use the gilded ground as a cue; just as the artists of the Renaissance used gold leaf to signify spiritual aspects, my use of gold does not hold a decorative intention. I intend that the precious metal indicates something beyond our physical world, something metaphysical.
© Karen Fitzgerald, 2018
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