Elisabeth Condon is an American artist whose multilayered pour paintings reference scroll painting, postwar abstraction, vintage textile patterns, nightclubs, and her immediate surroundings. An eloquent writer about her process and philosophy, interviews are a good way to delve into her deeply erudite way of articulating the context and references in her work. Recent interviews are available at Voyage Mia and Provk Magazine. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to her exhibition catalog for her most recent show at Emerson Dorsch:
“Elisabeth’s intellect, spirit and sharp wit are on a full view in these pieces. As Franklin Einspruch wrote of her, “to know Elisabeth Condon is to understand the magnitude of art in her head.” Her knowledge of art history and her commitment to sustained examination of past and present paintings have inspired me since I first began working with her in 2008. She is more than these attributes though. Eisnpruch gets it right when he elaborates that Elisabeth’s head in that sentence is better understood as the Chinese word for heart, xin, which encompasses all aspects of enlightened being. Sporting cropped red hair and vividly patterned clothes, her spritely presence vibrates with her passion for art and life.
Her inexhaustible research fuels her practice, which begins a monk-like ritual each day and finishes after painting until 2 or 3am each night. Her Tampa studio, where she made the paintings for this show, has about 50 paint pots laid out on two or three tables, brushes neatly divided by size and texture, and paintings all around. The space has a lofted ceiling and natural light spills through the windows high above. The painting process in this show came on the heels of a two week print-making residency with Graphicstudio, one of more than twenty renowned residencies all over the word Condon has attended through the years. Her travels are part of her research. She summoned her time in New York, NY, where she spends half of the year, in her depiction of pigeons as symbols of that city’s landscape. Often within a single painting there is conflict, like a desire to be in another place than where she is. She tells me that when she is in New York she thirsts for Florida’s lushness and space. Other conflicts manifest in her treatment of her subjects – they are not always easy depictions. She often explodes, obliterates or dissolves the flowers entirely. She can be irreverent. She enacts ambivalence while committing fully. The battle on view is part of the show.”