Foxy Production is very pleased to present “A Pulsation of the Artery” the inaugural American solo exhibition of London-based artist Justin Fitzpatrick. Taking inspiration from the writings of queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and the poetry of William Blake and Walt Whitman, Fitzpatrick presents a series of paintings and sculptures that pictures a relationship between time and identity, where neither are fixed. The exhibition’s title, taken from Blake’s epic poem “Milton” (1810), refers to the experience of time at its most corporeal: “…all the great/Events of Time start forth and are conceiv’d in such a Period/Within a Moment, a Pulsation of the Artery.” Fitzpatrick’s visual language channels Blake’s use of a symbolism rooted in embodiment, where priority is given to the generative multitude of ways a thing can mean something, focussing on how, as well as what, something means.
Fitzpatrick is interested in the transmission, on a viral level through history, of textual and visual influence. He sources medieval illumination, Renaissance painting, anatomical diagrams, Constructivist design, and sci fi book covers, among other elements, to transform his philosophical inquiries into visceral imagery. With echoes, too, of the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico and the Surrealists, his works embody a palpable tension between their visual acuity and the drama, desire, and, at times, violence of their symbols and metaphors. They embody a fluidity, felt in real time; a sense that concrete meanings and self-definitions may be more volatile, unmoored, and yet historically interlinked than they at first appear.
Fitzpatrick’s paintings render flora, animals, planets, and human bodies within repetitions, patterning and symbolic interplays: “Water on Mars (Rehabilitation)” recalls a sci-fi book cover with its planetary landscape and surreal tripling of out-sized fingers and heads with florid curlicue flourishes that intimate the genre’s psychotropic other-worlds; “Paranoia and Parthenogenesis”’ similar structure of dissected heads suggests, at once, the brain, the mind, and the spirit, a conceptual layering not unlike Whitman’s linkages from the molecular to the cosmic; and “A technology of suspicion”’s hybrid police car-magpie takes on Kosofsky Sedgwick’s writings on cultural artifacts being treated either with suspicion – policed – or reassessed and revalued – collected in the manner of a magpie.
Fitzpatrick’s three resin sculptures are dedicated to Blake, Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Whitman, respectively. The artist has translated a section of Blake’s “Milton” – where Milton literally enters Blake’s foot – into sculptures that reference each of the three personalities. The works’ sandaled feet with bare leg-bones and twisting vines and veins protruding from them recall Blake’s mythical yet very direct and passionate imagery.
Justin Fitzpatrick (Dublin, Ireland, 1985) lives and works in London. He holds an MA in Fine Art Painting from the Royal College of Art, London, UK and graduated from St Oswald’s School of Painting, London. Selected exhibitions include: “Salon de Peinture,” MHKA, Antwerp, Belgium (2019); “Underworld,” KevinSpace, Vienna, Austria (solo); “22 Young London,” V22, London, UK; “Room Raiders,” Mathew NYC, New York, NY (all 2018); “Uranus,” Sultana, Paris, France (solo); “F-R-O-N-T-I-S-P-I-E-C-E,” Seventeen, London, UK; “Whisky et Tabou,” Musée Estrine, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France; “Amazing girls / It’s complicated,” Kevinspace, Vienna, Austria (all 2017); “Streams of Warm Impermanence,” DRAF, London, UK; “Animal Mundi,” Barbican Arts Trust, London, UK (solo); “Life is On,” Jakob Kroon Galerie, Stockholm, Sweden; “Caput Medusae,” Westminster Waste, London, UK (all 2016); and “Bloomberg New Contemporaries,” ICA, London, UK (2015).
Photography: Charles Benton.