"We first met Tony Fitzpatrick at Pierogi
twelve years ago and seven years later had his first one-person exhibition. Tony was full of energy and his enthusiasm was infectious. If youve ever met Tony you know that he doesnt leave his opinions by the door and that he is an incredible storyteller. We were honored to show his work then and are thrilled to present this new group of works entitled Drawings for Crazy Horse. In these new drawing collages Tony investigates the fascinating life of Crazy Horse."
One of my aims in making these meditations on Crazy Horse is not to convince you I know a lot about Native American History or Native Americans. I dont. I am a white guy who is fascinated by the problematic history and wanderings of one iconic Native American, Crazy Horse. He was an odd man who was not very comfortable as a leader, or a member of a tribe, or even as a man. He was a seeker of spirits, of nature, which are pretty much the same thing in this particular body of work. Do I feel a kinship with him? Not really. He was at heart a loner, happy out wandering in nature, hunting deer, elk and buffalo, sleeping in caves and under the stars. I am an admirer of his courage and otherworldliness. I feel greatly for those who will only be like themselves.
Crazy Horse is certainly an American enigmaa man many would build monuments to and then sneer at the clay feet of their hero. The more I read about Crazy Horse, the more fascinated I amevery account Ive read seems to be about a different personhe defied type and was his own man. (Fitzpatrick)
Tony came across many Native American stories while reading about the natural history of owls (the subjects of a number of his drawing collages). The most compelling to him were always the stories about Crazy Horse. In researching Crazy Horse further Tony consulted various sources, primary among them Mark Turcotte, the Chippewa poet who Tony has known for years, and Larry McCurtrys biography, Crazy Horse. The works in this exhibition, which Tony has referred to as offerings and meditations, include Snake Planets, Deer Music, Horse Star (for Crazy Horse), Winter Star (for Crazy Horse), The Assassination of Crazy Horse and, Thunder Being, among others.
Tonys earlier series of works include The Wonder: Portraits of a Remembered City (a long series dedicated to the city of Chicago); Chapel of Moths (narratives influenced by the music and musicans, the food, and the many colorful characters of New Orleans) and, more recently, the Hobo Drawings (which convey narratives about the hobo alphabet and hobos, wherever they roamed). He begins each drawing-collage by drawing or painting central elements. He then incorporates collage elements from a vast collection of matchbook covers, ticket stubs and other memorabilia, into the configuration. Each piece develops in a different way; sometimes the drawing pushes the story and picture forward, sometimes the collage elements do.
This is Tonys third solo exhibition at Pierogi. His work has been published in numerous volumes and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The National Museum of American Art (Washington, DC), among others and has recently been included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Compass In Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection.