By Paige Ewing
Landscape and still-life paintings reflect Allen Fitzpatrick’s view of the world in The Art Gallery’s new exhibit: Looking.
Fitzpatrick, a local artist and chair of the Art Department at The Lawrenceville School, will bring his oil paintings to Rider’s Art Gallery until Feb. 26. The artist spoke with students during an artist talk on Feb. 2 and related his artwork to scenes many students will encounter in their lives or their own artwork.
Fine Arts Professor and Art Gallery Director Harry Naar chose this exhibit, not only to feature a local artist, but also because of the connection between teacher and student.
“Because the images are representational and they are dealing with the landscape and the still life, those are two images that the students also deal with, so I thought his work would be really good examples to relate to,” Naar said.
Fitzpatrick also emphasized his connection to the students he works with at The Lawrenceville School and how “it has been, at times, humbling, most of the time rewarding and always interesting to explore the visual world with such a great group of students and colleagues.”
Having been an art student at Middlebury College, and later at the New York Academy, Fitzpatrick’s artwork has been heavily influenced by artist Thomas Buechner. Looking at Fitzpatrick’s work, one can see the detail and the simple color schemes that are reflective of ideas found in Buechner’s art as well.
“Getting the value right is far more important than color,” said Fitzpatrick in an interview with Naar. “I guess I am drawn to simplicity over complexity.”
Fitzpatrick dove into the ideas of simplicity within his paintings, being that they are meant to be uncomplicated and “rarely contain deeper meaning.”
“It seems there is plenty of ugliness in the world, and I hope to not make more of it, or celebrate it in any way,” he said.
However, one can still see the reflection of his childhood within the landscapes he paints.
Growing up, Fitzpatrick traveled to Virginia with his family, where he worked on his aunt’s farm, and later in life, he went to school in Vermont. He also traveled to Siena, Italy, to paint the landscape there. These travels inspired him to begin, and continue, painting landscapes.
“Landscape, for me, that means a beautiful spot — harder to find in Mercer County than in Tuscany or Vermont, but certainly doable,” said Fitzpatrick.
In addition to being an artist and teacher, Fitzpatrick is also a local to the Lawrenceville area, having attended Princeton High School and played ice hockey for the school team. It was this love for hockey and the freedom from his parents growing up that drew Fitzpatrick back to the area, he said.
Fitzpatrick’s parents allowed him to explore his interests whether it be art or sports, like hockey, and through this exploration he developed a love for both. Fitzpatrick embodies the idea that students do not have to fall under a specific category and can explore many avenues. These avenues eventually brought Fitzpatrick back to Lawrenceville.
“I have been here quite a long time, and it has been a great place to raise my family,” he said.
Originally printed in the 2/8/17 edition.