CHICAGO — Chicago
artist Tony Fitzpatrick will bring his signature brand of witty visual repartee
to the DePaul Art Museum this spring with a display of his collage series “The
Secret Birds.” The exhibition will run May 12-Aug. 21, 2016, and is the largest
presentation of his work to date with more than 50 of his intricately layered
collages as well as 40 prints from the DePaul Art Museum collection that span more
than two decades of the artist’s career.
In his ongoing
series “The Secret Birds,” Fitzpatrick meticulously draws and layers images, poetry
and found materials onto the page. He combines inspiration from his working
class roots in Chicago and influences from folk art, comic book characters and
tattoo imagery. Each drawn collage depicts a specific species of bird, ranging
from the peregrine falcon to the common starling.
the works are commentaries on gun violence, drug abuse and other inequities and
injustices found in Chicago and beyond. “The birds play symbolic roles, some
delivering otherworldly messages and cautionary tales,” said curator Laura
Fatemi, associate director of the DePaul Art Museum. Other works eulogize
Fitzpatrick’s influences, including writer Roberto Bolaño, musician and Chicago blues legend Otis Clay, and
his own father.
celebrates the beauty of the natural world in ‘The Secret Birds’” said Fatemi. “The Artist’s Studio” section of
the exhibition will feature items from Fitzpatrick’s studio,
including the ornithological reference books he has studied and his carved wooden
native, Fitzpatrick draws on the history and lore of the city, as well as
popular culture and his Irish Catholic roots. He is a self-taught artist,
playwright, actor, poet and essayist and a consummate raconteur, said Fatemi.
“Tony’s astute observations and contemplations of his surroundings reveal and
celebrate the magic, beauty and wonder of the world around him,” said Fatemi.
played an important part in Fitzpatrick’s development as an artist. In 1992, he
founded a printmaking workshop, Big Cat Press, in Chicago’s Wicker Park
neighborhood. The operations have moved and changed over time, but printmaking
remains an important part of his work.
Fatemi has grouped
some prints with Chicago subject matter from a series titled “Remembered City.”
These images take the viewer on a journey through the streets of Chicago and
reference the city’s history and landmarks, including the Chicago Stockyards. “Tony is a chronicler of the
city, and the view of Chicago he expresses in prints and poetry is historical,
political and intensely personal,” said Fatemi.
exhibition includes selections of Fitzpatrick’s work from the DePaul Art
Museum’s permanent collection, and more than 30 private collectors have
contributed their holdings. “These works encompass a range of ideas and showcase a sampling of the visual trajectory of the artist over the past
two decades,” said Fatemi.
reception will be held for “The Secret Birds” and another exhibition, “Barbara
Rossi: Poor Traits,” May 12 from 5-8 p.m. A discussion with Fitzpatrick and
Chicago Tribune writer Rick Kogan, known for his compelling takes on the city,
will be held May 23 from 6-7:30 p.m. These events are free and open to the
Art Museum is located at 935 W. Fullerton, just east of the CTA’s Fullerton ‘L’
stop. The museum hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.
The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. For more on the DePaul Art Museum’s
upcoming exhibitions and events, call 773-325-7506 or visit http://museums.depaul.edu/.