Artists in Time of Covid:
A Profile of Karen Fitzgerald
During these times of social distancing and closed businesses, we at Handwright Gallery turned to our artists to ask them, “How are you approaching your artwork during this time?” We wanted you to get to know the real-people behind the artwork. Our first profile is from Karen Fitzgerald of Long Island City, N.Y.
“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am reflecting on the wider meanings this moment in time might offer. As I bike daily to my studio (PAUSEd not, as I’m a solo business person) these rides offer the kind of ruminating space that strolls in the woods also provide. A chance for the brain to slosh in its own sloshing, synapses connecting in new patterns. New thoughts usually come out at the end of the passage.
Not long ago, our media echoed with chants of, “I can’t breathe!” as we witnessed reporting on the death of a man held bound and in a chokehold until he died. Eric Garner repeated that phrase 11 times before he passed. His death was of6icially listed as a homicide, but no one was ever held accountable. Our planet itself is choked: with atmospheric pollution, plastics in the ocean, and a fever inching ever upward. She is struggling to breath as well. And now, we face an epidemic where many of us will also experience a loss of breath, and struggle to continue breathing.
While many people would acknowledge the linkage of these things in time, I am suggesting that there is a deeper, and broader linkage. A common metaphor (breath) unites our planetary population. It is no subtle metaphor, nor a delicate suggestion. It’s hammering. If we fail to notice this time, well, then we fail.
Over the past few years, I’ve come to see that our thoughts are wildly powerful, our actions even more so. As we chanted against the social and policing injustices, our dear planet heard us. While we understand ourselves to be deeply creative beings, we must also remember that we are of, and bound to, the earth. Implication suggests she is also deeply creative. If nothing else, we look to the fossil record as evidence. Eons of creating. Intertwining trees of life, branching, tunneling, becoming anew in her own time.
The breath of life is a powerful thing. It bridges the physical and the metaphysical just as music is a bridge between heaven and earth. (Says the ever-wise culture of the East.) Breath is life. Turning that upside down, the momentary nature of living is revealed. When it arrives, poetic justice is not always satisfying. It is truthful, and we can always purify that truth. Knowing, seeing, breathing, acting. Sometimes metaphors are a trumpet of change. Now or
never, what will we do with our next breath?”
Boat, 12″ x 16″, solarplate etching, edition of 20, with 23k gold, handmade print, (unframed) $450.
Some Light, 13.5″ x 13.5″, Oil paint with Venetian plaster and mica on yupo paper, with 23k gold, $900.