Dave Fitzpatrick has been working as a sculptor for the past 27 years. Using mostly wood, stone and metal he often writes stories that accompany his pieces.
30 years ago he lost his hearing and trained as a mime artist in order to counterbalance the loss of sound. He composes his own mimes and this has influenced his sculpture work.
He has studied the work of Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda and has performed a one man show of his life. He regularly gives poetry recitals.
1996 “Partners” – Joint exhibition with artist Sally Kearney in the Warren Boathouse Gallery, Castletownshend, West Cork.
1998 “Becoming The Tree” – Solo exhibition in the Tig Fili Gallery, Cork
1998 Tig Fili exhibition “Becoming The Tree” shown on RTE television in a documentary made by Radius Television Productions.
1999 “Lost In The Wood” – Solo exhibition in the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.
2001 “Flight From The Forest Under The Sea” – Solo exhibition in the City Arts Centre, Dublin.
2002 “Clear Eye – Second Sight.” – Solo exhibition in the Sirius Gallery, Cobh, Co. Cork.
2003 Group exhibition in the Sirius Gallery, Cobh, Co. Cork.
2004 Group exhibition in the Gray Gallery, Cobh, Co. Cork.
2004 “Like Swimming Underwater” – IADT film based on the work of Dave Fitzpatrick. Directed by Tiffany Hodder.
2005 Group exhibition in the Gray Gallery, Cobh, Co. Cork.
He has also exhibited in the Lavit Gallery, Cork, The Kent Gallery, Kinsale, Co. Cork (1998-2000) and The West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
His work is also in private collections in the United Kingdom, Japan,Italy and United States.
He has performed as a mime artist all around Ireland as well as in Paris, France and Pisa, Italy. He has also performed in Santa Barbara and Boston in the United States.
Opening of David Fitzpatrick’s Exhibition:
“Becoming the Tree”
By Abbot Patrick Hederman OSB
Tig Fili Gallery, Maccurtain St., Cork
It is a privilege for me to open for all of us this evening, this sacred space, which David Fitzpatrick has uncovered for us: this hidden grove which he has carved into a sacred wood.
Every piece around us was there for us to see in the ordinary everyday landscape of our lives: in a bog, on a beach, by the roadside, in a field. We never saw them. We passed them by without even noticing them. Something had to happen to open our eyes to the ordinary. We have to be present at this transfiguration, this epiphany of trees, to allow us to see clearly.
In the Gospel of St. Mark there are two miracles recorded which, for me, have been repeated here in our own time. The first is in chapter 7 vv 32-37 where we are told that they brought Him a deaf man and He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put His fingers into his ears and touched His tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven He sighed and He said to him, “ephphatha” – that is – “be opened.”
And the second incident is later in chapter 8 v 222f. where they brought to him a blind man. ‘So He took him by the hand and led him outside the village. Then putting spittle in his eyes and laying His hands on him He asked, “Can you see anything?” And the man who was beginning to see replied: “I can see people like trees walking.” And he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly……and he could see everything plainly and distinctly.’
These are the two miracles that we are witnessing here this evening. David Fitzpatrick has suffered from very serious deafness for most of his life. ‘In a way,’ he says in a letter he wrote to me last year, ‘I joined a monastery many years ago not unlike the one you are in. We also have our vow of silence: our vow of listening to a different voice. Sometimes I have panicked and thought I might drown behind these walls but the feeling and the walls are only an illusion. Anyhow the similarity of our experience over the last 20 years might help us to understand each other more.’ What I understand here this evening is that David has been given a kind of hearing deeper than any that we, who think we have perfect hearing, can hope to attain. And this exhibition is the result of that inner listening, of the way in which David Fitzpatrick’s hand was taken by someone who whispered to him, “Be opened” and he was opened and able to see the world in a way that he shares with us here today. His deafness has opened his hearing to a deeper level, where compassion and creativity combine to show us the reality of what really is.
It will be a pity when this sacred grove has to be removed. However I urge you all emphatically to ensure that some piece of this sacred wood be placed as an icon in your own home, in your special place, to remind you of the special wood of that cross which is your own to sculpt into an everlasting form, an immortal diamond.Ephphatha. Let this exhibition and each one of us be opened.
I am fascinated by the world beyond words and the world where we run out of words. Deafness is not just not being able to hear, but hearing something different”
– Dave Fitzpatrick