This abstract work by Chicago artist Patrick Fitzgerald is one of a series of “track paintings” that materialize the imagined tracks navigated by his miniature soap-box car sculptures. Inspired by slot-car racetracks, each painting depicts a meandering, yet cyclical path that twists and turns upon itself in an endless loop. Isolated from time and place, the painting achieves a sense of timelessness and draws a through line linking the past, the present, and the future.
Entitled "Ontario," this track painting is one of five compositions inspired by the Great Lakes. Like all of Fitzgerald's works, the paintings are deeply responsive to his surroundings and encapsulate the unique industrial histories and geologic wonders of the American midwest. Fitzgerald describes his Great Lakes series as "a contemplation of these wondrous bodies of water that have impressed and mystified me beyond words since childhood. My desire within each work is to create the timeless quality of a relic imbued with nostalgia and emotive power."
In "Ontario," a thin, blue-grey track twists and turns throughout the work, guiding the eye across a collage of vintage ephemera. The multi-media work tells the story of a bygone era, one where industrial production defined an entire geographical region and brought commerce and trade through its waterways. At the center of the composition is an old advertisement for the Niagara Machine & Tool Works of Buffalo, NY, culled from a 1950s machinery journal. A reference to Fitzgerald's own experience operating a Niagara punch press in a factory setting, the vintage ad honors the region's long-running industrial history and recalls the Niagara River, which empties into Lake Ontario.
Oil paint, graphite and collage on wood panel. Mounted in distressed frame.