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Following a somewhat nomadic upbringing, Cork-born artist Patrick Michael Fitzgerald has put down roots in the Basque Country, as Mark Joyce discovers
Leaving the industrial city of Bilbao, heading west on the autovía BI-636. The road climbs steadily following the course of the river Cadagua into a mountainous hinterland of small factories and agricultural holdings, until you reach the town of Zalla. This is where the Irish painter Patrick Michael Fitzgerald has lived and worked for twenty years. Fitzgerald was born and spent his early years in Cork, then the family moved to the UK, where he lived in a number of places. ‘Because my parents moved every few years. I mostly grew up all over England and never really made roots. I remember certain gardens, lanes, woods, streets... but Cork and the surrounding area have a strong emotional pull. I still go back there to visit my parents.’
James Hanley is drawn into Cristina Bunello’s feminine environment where the gazed upon gazes back, at the Cross Gallery, Dublin.
There was an air show in Dublin recently, where commercial and military aircraft flew low over the city, following the Liffey before arching skyward and home. Post 9/11 it is difficult to look at a passenger plane in the same light when it is away from its normal flight path and in such proximity to tall buildings, even if the context is innocent.
So too when we look at images, painted or otherwise, of children, especially young girls, we bring whether wittingly or subconsciously, a whole raft of associations, thoughts and emotions, created in an ever-increasingly complex world. The saturation of images and information that comes with the digital age means that things are even more difficult to see simply, as before. Thoughts of innocence, experience, drama, danger and desire all play into our initial response to those images, as does the gender and, perhaps, motive of the author of such work.