James Fitzsimmons received a BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, and
an MFA from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. His awards include a
Governor’s Scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the
Charles G. Shaw Painting Award from Brooklyn College, and he is a two-time winner
of the Maryland Federation of Art’s Tilghman Award. James’s work has been shown
in galleries throughout the Northeast and was most recently featured as part of the
Mitchell Gallery’s show A Lineage of American Perceptual Painters. He currently
teaches at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.
My love of objects goes back to childhood when the simplest of things would keep
me looking and wondering for hours. There could be any number of reasons for the
attraction, some of which would be size, shape, color, surface or texture, and if the
object had moving parts, all the better. My interest in objects has become more
intense with time and I find myself spending hours arranging them in some way in
order to satisfy a need for harmony, design and solidarity. I am aware of the fact that
many have a history unknown to me, and almost all come from different times and
places. This only increases their attractiveness. Construction of the still life has a
certain ritualistic quality to it, which lends itself well to the reverential aspect that
builds as a painting develops. My goal is to communicate this to the viewer.
My other goal is to ensure an understanding of my place in a tradition that was
born in the Renaissance, which includes a holistic reverence for nature and the
mystery of life. I want to speak to my time as a modern artist steeped in the tradition
of painting. I have a desire to create the world as it might be, to understand the
underlying need for doing so and to be sympathetic to the desire to express this
need with paint in the twenty-first century.
I would like my art to be as powerful as a great work of architecture or musical
composition. Great works of art are something like icons for me; they possess a
soul. I would like my work to be the same.