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.
Jim’s love of objects goes back to his childhood when the simplest of things would keep him looking and wondering for hours. There could be any number of reasons for the attraction, some of which would be size, shape, color, surface and texture, etc. and if the form had moving parts all the better. The interest in the object has only gotten more intense with time. Now he find himself spending hours arranging these objects in some way so as to satisfy a need for harmony, design and solidarity. The fact that many of the things Jim uses have a history that he does not know is not lost on him. Almost all come from a different place and time. This only increases the attraction. The construction of the still life has a certain ritualistic quality to it. This lends itself well to the whole reverential thing that is building as the painting develops. One of Fitzsimmons goals is to translate this to the viewer along with all the formal needs in painting.
Jim’s other desires are to ensure an understanding of his place in a tradition that was born in the Renaissance, which includes a holistic reverence for nature and the mystery of life. He want to speak to his time as a modern artist steeped in the tradition of painting. Jim has a desire to create the world as it might be and 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.
Mr. Fitzsimmon’s work stems from a desire to use the world and the objects in it to convey a personal sense of reality. He works towards a representation beyond that of mere depiction or emulation; from the beginning, the world, its spaces and objects have had a hidden meaning for him.
He tries to keep it simple by exploring the relationship of one concern to another. He’s looking for the ideal place where things come together. His best work comes from the struggle of how a painting or drawing develops, and he don’t pretend to be in control. The truth is, things appear and disappear, commitment happens or it doesn’t. Ultimately, the work becomes what it wants to be, and is rarely what he thought it would be.
Mr. Fitzsimmons 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 him; they possess a soul. He would like his work to do the same.