New Paintings: Dorian FitzGerald

We are pleased to present Dorian FitzGerald’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. FitzGerald (b. 1975, lives Toronto) has spent the last ten years meticulously crafting a persuasive body of work revolving around a central tenet: that the follies, the deceptions, the indulgences, the grand edifices, the opulences, the waste, the vanities, the subterfuges and the chummy pacts of the wealthy and the powerful, are all fodder for scrutiny. In doing so, FitzGerald has been likened to a contemporary court painter, documenting – often on a monumental scale – these various lines of socio-political inquiry. In doing so, FitzGerald also knowingly underscores the conundrum at the root of his endeavours: that he is largely beholden to the very strata he is painting. His subject matter, therefore, has increasingly pointed towards issues of labour, craft and patronage. Canadian Art has written that in, “combining fractal-like forms with imagery celebrating opulence and luxury, FitzGerald’s paintings manifest a critically conceived parallel wealth that transcends the economic and experiential barriers that separate the super-rich from wider society.” FitzGerald’s method of working, often seated cross-legged directly on the canvas, requires infinite patience and a granular attention to detail that, taken together, suggest a kinship with Tibetan sand painting. While the latter, once finished, is soon wiped away to drive home the impermanence of all things, FitzGerald’s works tend to hold a mirror up to that innately human wish to be exalted and remembered in the minds of others before the scythe comes down, as it inevitably does for king, shepherd (and painter) alike. In doing so, FitzGerald has even called into question his own motives. Indeed, his previous exhibition was entitled Weltverbesserungssyndrom, which roughly translates as World Improvement Syndrome and can be interpreted as a kind of narcissistic personality disorder that masquerades as improving the situation of others – in this case delivering aesthetic and cerebral pleasure for the viewer – for the attention it brings to the doer. FitzGerald fully understands the paradox of using ostensibly beautiful works of art to deliver barbed comment on the very subjects he has so painstakingly rendered. Furthermore one wonders whether a kind of Stockholm Syndrome sets in at some point (where the hostage falls in love with their kidnapper) since the largest paintings take years to finish and FitzGerald invests so much of himself in the preliminary research and their subsequent execution.

Dorian FitzGerald was born in Toronto in 1975 where he lives and works. He holds a BA in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. His work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto Mississauga; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the Galerie de L’Université du Québec à Montréal and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (now MoCA), Toronto, among others. His work is held in several public and private collections including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Ivey School of Business and the Donald Sobey Collection. FitzGerald wishes to thank the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for their support.