Margaret Fitzgibbon

You Begin

Borrowing its title from a poem by Margaret Atwood, this solo exhibition of new sculpture and mixed media works by the Wicklow based artist encompasses the broad variety of materials Fitzgibbon employs, from ceramics to collage, textiles, large-scale installations, sculpture and object making. Her subject matter lends form to the fantastic, taking in the human, plant and animal world, memory, mythological and feminist themes and forgotten female historical figures.

You Begin will include the publication of the first in a recurring series of free micro books conceived and designed for Mermaid by Pure Designs, featuring a newly commissioned text by writer and researcher Ingrid Lyons.

You Begin

You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.
Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.

The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.

© Margaret Atwood, 1962

Artist Biography

Margaret Fitzgibbon

is a visual artist who employs a number of techniques and materials including large-scale installations; sculpture; collage and textiles. Her art process is always technically exact however the final results often look awkward to suggest a sense of fragility and spontaneity. Drawing underpins her practice and in the last few years she’s turned to early Surrealism, drawn to its recurring principle of ‘the strange beauty in the unexpected’.

“I love making and the affects achieved with different materials, this is how I process memories, experiences and observations. I seem to need this acting out and the final physical, tactile, objective results often surprise me,” she says. By fusing narrative modes including poetry, text, image and collage she recalibrates the tensions between reality and fantasy unsettling designations of gender and identity, art and craft.

Fitzgibbon’s subject matter defies simple categorisations but a layering of emotional responses to the complicated relationship she has a range of topics, for example the natural world, autobiography, memory, hidden histories and feminism.

She recently received an Irish Arts Council grant to create a new hand-drawn animation piece, while Culture Ireland funding supports her forthcoming solo exhibition opening on 22ndJune in Godsbanen Cultural Centre, Aarhus, Denmark.

Click here for more information about Margaret's Godsbanen exhibition