Green on Red Gallery


Mary FitzGerald

  • 26 Jan - 03 Mar 2012

Green On Red Gallery is delighted to announce the first exhibition by Mary Fitzgerald in the gallery and in Dublin for some years. The exhibition will consist of an array of projected, looped and even live images and objects installed in the gallery, drawing and insinuating the viewer into the realm of its layered and site-specific arrangement.

HALFLIFE is a dramatic shift in the artist's practice and, by any standard, one of the most ambitious in its aims and realisation. This seems wholly appropriate, however, for an artist of Fitzgerald's ability and radicalism. We recognise themes and subtleties here that are wholly consistent with the younger Fitzgerald. For example, even of her earlier works in oil on canvas Fitzgerald was acutely aware of how the viewer and the object viewed cohabited: ' The work has a physical relationship with the audience who share the same space ; it begins the process of communication. ' * The absence here of oil, organisms, metal pins, etc. on painted canvas or panel will surprise many. HALFLIFE is nothing if not a new stage on this artist's journey and an intriguing invitation to follow suit.

Since an earlier setback in the artist's rising career as one of Ireland's most competent and compelling artists - due to a debilitating car accident in 1986 and the ensuing trauma of her treatment - Fitzgerald’s long-awaited last exhibition, AFTERLIFE, was held in 2009 in the Fenton Gallery in Cork. Mortality is a central theme that continues in this exhibition to confront the artist and the viewer. In fact, through a series of narrative progressions the visitor is innocently plunged into a purgatorial route through the gallery's dimly lit spaces while watching and, unwittingly, being watched. Many emotions and themes are explored.

A sense of disorientation and confusion follows you as you plot through the work, through the various media and the many different surface treatments and aspects. There is no consistent or even visible horizon. Time and space are poorly defined in the dim light. Just as you are looking, peering there is the slowly dawning realisation of being caught on camera. In a crucial hall-of-mirrors moment the viewer him/herself becomes subject and agent at once. You are both actor and acted on.

The blank minimal action of the enveloping four screen projection in Passage echoes the achingly slow movement in Bruce Nauman's Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage) 2001, but couldn't be further away in terms of artist's ' studio '. The walls of Fitzgerald's studio are non-existent. Instead of containment there is openness to seeming infinity.

Fitzgerald tackles issues of life and death head on. We stand on the edge of nothingness and extinction in the extreme Antarctic environment filmed on site in Drakes Passage, Argentina. Skeletal remains replace mirror images. The exhibition opens and closes with mounds of dust. Fitzgerald is by no means the first artist to focus on the complete or closing life cycle as a central subject in her work. Eva Hesse, Bas Jan Ader, Damien Hirst have all made this universal subject a central inspiration or obsession. Few have contemplated such serious and pained subjects to such ethereal and entrancing effect through the telling use of sand, water, seeds, dust, bones and books. The invitation to contemplation gives this ' journey ' a real purpose and conclusion, notwithstanding regular sharp reminders of the harshest of conditions.

' Kant describes the sight of the night sky, the expanse of which exceeds the field of vision and eludes the grasp of the imagination. It is in the very instant, however, when the subject painfully experiences the limitations of the capacities of its own senses and finds itself overwhelmed by the vastness of the universe, that the subject recognises that it bears the element of universality in itself, in the form of the moral principle - and can thus justifiably assert itself against the magnificence of nature, the sublime becomes the pathway to an intensified sense of self-experience. ' Bas Jan Ader In Search of the Miraculous, Jan Verwoert, p. 51

* ' Lightduress ' by Caoimhín MacGiolla Léith in Mary Fitzgerald : AFTERLIFE, p.11

Thanks to the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Goethe Institute. The next exhibition at Green On Red Gallery is a solo exhibition of new paintings by Paul Doran, opening on 08 March. For further information please contact Jerome O Drisceoil or Mary Caffrey at T: 01 6713414 or E:



  • For more information or purchase enquiries contact the gallery.

More Information

  • For more information or purchase enquiries contact the gallery.
  • Passage (2012)
  • Video & CCTV projection, dimensions variable. Photography by Peter Gordon
Passage (2012)
View of 'Narcissus' from outside the gallery
Narcissus (2012)
Halflife (2012)
Meridian (2012)
Passage (2012)
Exist (2012)

© Green on Red Gallery