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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Karen Fitzgerald

Karen Fitzgerald

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Artist Work

What Else They Are
2016
expired gallery cards
30x40"
All of It, Even Its End
2015
junk mail
30x40"
Breaking the Bridge Over Which We Must Pass
2015
discarded clothing
30x40"
From the Depths
2014
recycled caps and black & white photographs
24x30"
Obey All the Rules, Miss All the Fun (ii)
2016
expired gallery cards
24x60"
Body Lines
2015
pen on junk mail
11x14"

Artist Information

County
St. Mary's County
Phone
7706558391
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

I create art out of common, everyday things. From discarded clothing to junk mail, I'm motivated by the context of a material—its original purpose and place in our lives as well as the many hands and ideas involved in its creation. I "make paint" by breaking these materials down, seeking out color and shape, and putting them back together again to examine what we value and why it matters. It's sustainable in practice but, more importantly, fueled by a fascination of the elements we most cherish and wish to preserve in ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Artist Bio

I started out studying physics and wanting to become a professor. After teaching high school math and science in a slum outside Nairobi, Kenya, I returned to the States knowing that the knowledge I shared in my classes had very little to do with the aspects of my students’ lives I cared about most–poverty, health, and their general quality of life.  I decided to finish my degree in writing, believing it the best means of making a difference, but words, like formulas and equations, didn't help me understand these things better or participate in the kind of meaningful conversations I craved.

While I made art of all kinds growing up, it became much more than play when I started working with recycled materials. What does our stuff say about us and the ways we move around in the world? How do we decide what, even who (i.e., my African students), is important and gets our attention? My passion involves playing with things others throw away and making art that asks more questions than it answers.  I found my means of participating in a dialogue that connects us all.