Dorothy Fitzgerald Recalculating: Take Next Right onto Roller Coaster Road

(from left to right): Because I love you, 2007, oil, oil stick, duct tape on canvas, 60 x 48 in.; I’ll get my hair done after PT and before OT, 2007, oil vintage paper, pen, charcoal, electrical tape on canvas, 60 x 48 in.; Just one more thing, 2007, oil, vintage paper, spray paint on canvas, 60x 48 in.; Do you know Jim? I do, 2007, oil, spray paint, oil stick, x-ray film on canvas, 60 x 48 in.; Just put my socks on!, 2007, oil, spray paint, paper on canvas, 60 x 48 in.; The dog ate it, 2007, oil, spray paint, oil stick, duct tape on canvas, 60 x 48 in. Digital photography by Lisa Langer.

Dorothy Fitzgerald Recalculating: Take Next Right onto Roller Coaster Road

Oct 5, 2007 - Jan 13, 2008


A work of art lives, remembers, and most profoundly, reveals to those who welcome these experiences.

Dorothy Fitzgerald’s exhibition Recalculating: Take Next Right onto Roller Coaster Road revealed a life-changing event. Last year Fitzgerald’s world was turned upside down when unbearable discomfort brought her to the realization that a double hip replacement was necessary. With an illustrious career as art instructor and professional artist, these works represented a self realized tribute to her personal trials and tribulations. A number of these works were begun just prior to the surgery, which she foresaw as a tragedy! Ultimately, in her words it “turned out to be an opportunity…for life transformation.”

Simultaneously reflected in these works is not only the anxiety of how to keep her family afloat, but also a critical period of introspection. Fitzgerald’s recovery was embedded with what she refers to as “a stillness I was not used to.” This period of introspection afforded her the awareness that she was still in control of her destiny, able to make the right choices that would continue to enrich her life as well as support her family. Her recovery was not without turmoil or drama. She continued to paint with the aid of a walker, and hand fashioned tools to extend her reach across the paintings. The paintings were positioned on the floor where she was able to work around them.

As an artist journeys through life, there are periods of transition, elevation, and deviation. One’s path, foreseen or envisioned, is not always the path offered. Unexpected challenges morph our path. Those who choose to face these challenges head-on demonstrate an insatiable drive for success and triumph. The works included in this exhibition dwelled in and were intertwined with Fitzgerald’s life changing journey.

Artist Statement

My work is figurative, expressionist while rooted in art history. I create emotional and gestural oil paintings employing mystical allegories. I integrate popular iconography for their accessibility, bold use color for it’s seduction, and layers of energetic brushwork for their ability to show the history of the canvas. 

My personal experiences and sensuality are reflected in my paintings with humor and irony as I address an unresolved duel between conventional and unconventional, conservative and progressive. Sometimes paint isn’t enough and then I incorporate collage techniques borrowing freely from a personal photography portfolio, past woman’s magazines and vintage wallpaper.

Click here to access a digital copy of the exhibit catalog.