One may first get an impression of transparency, as in the membranous organs of jellyfish or glassy air-filled bubbles blown through a hoop. The space as seen within these hollow structures is captured by curvilinear screens of carefully modeled wiring that coil to infer a spatial fabric or translucent skin. Very strong on color and the properties of light and shadow, some pieces contain LED strips that illuminate the work from within, somewhat like a deep sea creature that creates its own incandescence.
The suspended constructions of Tom Fitzgibbon coruscate with synchronized lights coordinated by miniature computers. Set within deep shadow boxes or hung on their own, they are constructed with wood, paint and generous amounts of wire that project outward from the wall in oddly shaped entanglements. Mostly abstract but subtly merged with suggestions of natural phenomena, they are enhanced with lights, programmed, or rather, composed, to either undulate or serenely glow with a starlight effect.
For instance, a work such as “Irregular Heart” denotes an allegorical narrative that accentuates the object's metaphoric content. The LED strip runs through the symbolic muscle like a major artery casting light and shadow inside the box and against the wall. Other works, such as “Coral Atoll” are backlit to portray an eclipsing effect, or “Six Faces,” a series of a half dozen works that spin and gyrate vibrant color behind abstract forms. Some pieces are comprised of large casings, store signs and infernal machines with interactive elements, such as face detection. Lately, his work relates the human figure into larger, basic pictogram-like gestures of emotional movement.
Fitzgibbon has no formal art training and is technically an Outsider. He earned a degree in engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and made his living as an Electrical Engineer. This life experience piqued his interest in computerized art and syncopated lighting, particularly in the realm of sculpture. He had also been intrigued by the neon componentry of artist Keith Sonnier and the adaptability of lead glass tubing, krypton and neon gas illumination, along with the wide acceptance of materials, methods and common practices prevalent in society; notably electricity and computers.
Throughout his entire life, however, he pursued art and had been in the presence of many artists. Educating himself, he progressed within the arts from his extensive travels and wide exposure inside the New York art world. Friendships to such note-worthies as John Ahearn, Dick Bellamy, Denise Corley and Colab NYC founders, as well as having grown up in the traditions of art, encouraged him to follow a creative bent.
Fitzgibbon's sculpture can be seen in recent shows in Chelsea with work in the private collections of Mark DiSuvero, Tom Otterness, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Miles Bellamy, Walter Robinson and others.
Investigating the adaptation of the ephemeral in sculpture, Tom Fitzgibbon's approach captures light, shadow and color into solidity, intriguing and delighting the eye.
Ron Schira, October 2019