THE long and distinguished career of Limerick sculptor Tom Fitzgerald is the subject of a new exhibition that opened at Limerick City Gallery of Art yesterday.
Featuring up to 100 works dating from the early 1980s to the present day, ‘Spirit Music’ is a celebration of Fitzgerald’s work and contribution to the visual arts both locally and nationally.
Tom Fitzgerald studied at the Limerick School of Art and Design and later served as head of the sculpture department from 1976 to 2000. He was also a founder member of Limerick’s EV+A International festival in 1977.
His early work is predominantly sculptural using limestone and other materials including slate, wood and glass. These works frequently engage with the myths and legends of the past to more personal works such as his father’s tools.
Although Fitzgerald’s work has been exhibited internationally, his life, education and practice has been in Limerick city and county. His quiet confidence in a unique personal language and his ease in his own place has been a constant source of inspiration.
Drawings from his exhibitions, The Ministry of Dust (2004) and The Celtic Zoo (2014), include works in pencil, watercolour and beeswax. The almost dream-like quality of the images, combined with the humour of the titles, don’t tone down the caustic perspective taken by Fitzgerald on greed and corruption and their impacts on the environment
Limerick City Gallery of Art Director Una McCarthy, who curated the exhibition said: “Spirit Music is a celebration of this artist’s body of work over forty years and provides us with an opportunity to see the development of his work over this period. It also takes us on a journey at times mythical and whimsical and others caustic and satirical, ensuring that the ‘past is not a foreign country’.
“The catalogue to accompany this exhibition to be published in mid-April 2022 contains essays by Sean Ó Laoire, Gerry Dukes and Niamh Nic Ghabhann, who all present a close pen-portrait of this ‘pure artist’ and his significant and ongoing contribution to the visual arts in the Mid-West and Ireland.”
Spirit Music runs until May 8 and admission is free.