Tony Fitzpatrick, Artist
Jesus of Western Avenue
at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art -
College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Illinois
October 16, 2021 - January 31, 2022
By Mindy Tiberi
If you want to experience Chicago art through a collection of masterfully assembled historical ephemera, then don’t miss Tony Fitzpatrick’s current exhibit at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art in Glen Ellyn. 90 mixed media collage pieces give the viewer plenty to take in and yet the intricacies of each piece captivate the imagination, sparking fragmented memories of a bygone era through surprising bits of iconography - from restaurant and motel matchbook covers, shadowy figures, comic book heroes and villains, road maps, ticket stubs, gum wrappers and more. All the relative bits that many of us toss out with the bath water have been masterfully re-purposed in Tony’s work. Yet looking closer, each piece also provides respite from the noise. There are quiet areas the artist gives us to regroup and breathe, yet you have to seek these places out. Just like in real life, we can be so easily distracted by all the hoopla, we forget to transcend it all. We forget to feed the birds and appreciate nature. Viewing the show, I was reminded of forgotten landmarks that re-enlivened childhood memories, and felt like I was stepping into chapters of my own years growing up in various Chicago neighborhoods. Joy. Decadence. Drive. Obsession. Nostalgia. Energy. Thrills. Profanity. Nature. Birds. It’s all there and then some. Exiting the museum, I saw a Miro piece with the translated title: “The Queen of Ephemera.” If that was the queen, then Tony Fitzpatrick’s current exhibit just may mark him as ephemera’s king.
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