Approved: 23.02.2017

Robert Fitzmaurice

Artist

Approved: 23.02.2017

I am a visual artist whose output involves painting, mixed media and collage. My figurative style is fragmentary and references both the art of the past and contemporary culture. I usually work in series with each work involving an interplay between one or more figures and ambiguous forms in order to invoke a particular mood, e.g. contemplative, melancholy, or dramatic. The figures operate in a shallow, theatrical space and tend to possess the frontality and expressive shorthand common to votive art of all cultures. These elements combine to suggest an absurd universe where meaning is fluid and open to interpretation.

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    Biography

    I am a visual artist whose output involves painting, mixed media and collage. My figurative style is fragmentary and references both the art of the past and contemporary culture. I usually work in series with each work involving an interplay between one or more figures and ambiguous forms in order to invoke a particular mood, e.g. contemplative, melancholy, or dramatic. The figures operate in a shallow, theatrical space and tend to possess the frontality and expressive shorthand common to votive art of all cultures. These elements combine to suggest an absurd universe where meaning is fluid and open to interpretation.

    Often I will start a series of works with an idea inspired by something recently seen or read. Other times I may work more instinctively from images found in books, postcards, the cinema or online. I may also start a new work by tracing an old drawing, or the overpainting and collaging of earlier works, especially proof prints and print matrices. The composition is then subjected to a number of revisions and embellishments. The paint layers involve open brushwork, impasto and glazes, and are often further modified by the introduction of sand, sawdust or collage elements. Colour decisions are driven by the emotional tone and to balance the composition.

     I am very interested in how the mind assigns value to imagination and experience and how these meet to produce a work or art. My tendency to simplify, filter and truncate is in response to the fragmented and bewildering surfeit of images available to contemporary audiences. Artists of different periods and cultures have used the human figure in order to convey a narrative or personify a concept. By referencing the formal potency of these otherwise outmoded and compromised systems I wish to draw attention to a common ground, or sometimes a point of departure, in order to highlight the absurdities that continue to divide us. The power dynamics of childhood, family and rites of passage feature strongly as I consider they have a universal significance that transcends religion, myth or dogma. 

    Originally from Coventry I studied Fine Art in Sunderland before moving to Reading in 1984 for my MFA. After years of making art around a day-job I became a full-time artist in 2015. I hold a studio in the town at OpenHand OpenSpace and participate regularly in exhibitions nationally and internationally.

    CV & Education

    1960 Born Nuneaton, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

    Lives in Reading, Berkshire

    BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION

    1984-86 University of Reading, Master in Fine Art (Painting)

    1983-84 Studio with Sunderland Artists Group

    1980-83 Sunderland Polytechnic, BA Fine Art, First Class Honours (1:1)

    1979-80 Coventry Lanchester Polytechnic

    SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

    2018

    SFSA Drawing Open, no format Gallery, Deptford

    Imago, Openhand OpenSpace, Reading

    Diptych, Triptych, Polyptych, PS Mirabel, Manchester

    Open Exhibition, NN Contemporary, Northampton

    2017

    Winter Salon: Power Play, The Concept Space, Bermondsey, London

    SFSA Painting Open, no format Gallery, Deptford, London

    Rye Winter Salon, Rye Creative Centre, Sussex

    Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London

    As it stands: Unrefined, muted, abandoned, Hundred Years Gallery, London

    New Prints / Summer, International Print Center, New York

    Chaos, Contrasts, Change, OHOS, Reading

    TO & FRO ?? (solo), Peacock Gallery, Reading

    2016

    4th International Juried Print Exhibition, New Grounds Print Gallery, Albuquerque

    Shifting States, Espacio Gallery, London

    Innervisions, International Print Center, New York

    RA Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London

    Spectrum, PS Mirabel, Manchester

    Blue, Espacio Gallery, London

    Partitions, Arlington Arts Centre

    Mentors & Trios (solo) New Greenham Arts Centre, Newbury

    2015

    Espacio Original Print Fair, Espacio Gallery, London

    MONO II, Espacio Gallery, London

    Desire Lines, OHOS, Reading

    Print as Verb, OHOS, Reading

    Colour & Materials, Espacio Gallery, London

    TwitterArtExhibit, Moss, Norway

    2014

    Heaven + Hell, Espacio Gallery, London

    Hanging Tough, OHOS, Reading

    A Book about Death, Royal Cambrian Society, Wales

    Transformations, Hanse House, King's Lynn

    Constellation, Reading Museum and Art Gallery

    2013

    Strata, Espacio Gallery, London

    The Heart’s Long Coast (solo) More Arts Gallery, Wokingham

    Searching, Always, Gallery@49, Bracknell

    Emergence, Espacio Gallery, London

    2012

    Espacio Original Print Fair, Espacio Gallery, London

    Viewpoints, Espacio Gallery, London

    ECHO, OHOS, Reading

    INSIGHT, New Greenham Arts Centre, Newbury

    2011

    Recent paintings, Meller Merceux Gallery, Oxford

    Would you like and why not? OHOS, Reading

    Send Me A Postcard Darling, The Red Gate Gallery, London

    NUIT BLANCHE: Parcel Fever, OHOS, Reading

    FROM HERE ON IN (solo) Corn Exchange, Newbury

    2009 KAMIEN (Stone) e-mail Art Project, MOKSiR Chelmek, Poland

    1994-2000

    Numerous shows at the Jelly Leg'd Chicken Gallery, Reading

    1988

    Artist of the Day (solo) Angela Flowers Gallery, London

    Berkshire Artists Group Show, Windsor Arts Centre

    1987

    Four Painters, Darlington Arts Centre

    Take Six, Chisenhale Studios, London

    1986

    Three Painters, Cleveland Gallery, Middlesborough

    1983

    Sunderland Artists Group Show, Washington Arts Centre

    Northern Artists, Gallery Seven, Newcastle

    Tyne Tees Northern Open, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle and tour

    Whitworth Young Contemporaries, Manchester

    1982

    Engelsk Grafikk, Gallery F15, Norway

     

    AWARDS

    2017    Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust
    1983    Purchase prize, Tyne Tees Northern Open
    1982    First prize in Magnolia Mouldings National Landscape Competition

     

    CURATION AND PROJECTS

    2016 WordUp! Multi-site collaboration with Peter Driver for Reading's Year of Culture

    2013 Curation and installation of Searching, Always @Gallery49, Bracknell


    COLLECTIONS

    Sunderland University
    Magnolia Mouldings
    Reading University
    Angela Flowers Gallery
    Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts
    And private collections in UK, Europe and China

    PUBLICATIONS, TALKS & MEDIA

    2018: Editorial Team selection for ArtMaze Mag, issue 6, January

    2017: Featured image in Discerning Eye catalogue

    2016: Forms of Exchange, talk on the journey from source to motif, New Greenham Arts

    2015: Eliza's Entertainments, images to accompany poetry by Adrian Blamires

    2015: Cover to Cover, a sketchbook project, ISBN 978-0-9932232-1-1

    2014: Interview on the Palette Pages

    2014: Transformations, a contemporary version of Ovid's Metamorphoses, ISBN 978-1-292-68852-8

    2014: Heaven + Hell, exhibition catalogue with an introductory essay by Anna McNay

    2012: FAD News Q&A 

    2010: FROM HERE ON IN exhibition catalogue, with an introductory essay by Adrian Blamires

    1988: Artist of the Day, exhibition catalogue, Angela Flowers Gallery