May 1, 2011
By Jill Conner
This new selection of paintings by Elisabeth Condon features landscapes that start small, even quaint, but then rapidly evolve into large-scale abstractions. Two small-scale pieces titled Tomorrow Will Be Saturday and I’m Going to Choose This Northern Place capture the leaves and trees that line an empty road. But in four larger works such as Hello Yellow, Slippery Slope, White Lines and Sky, Tree, River the gravity felt along their empty terrain is suddenly displaced by starbursts of color. Three-dimensional perspective is unexpectedly upended, replaced by a suggestion of the Fourth, specifically notions of space and time. Bright hues such as orange, yellow, purple and green not only capture both the spatter and stain of painted color, but also portray miniscule details such as houses, plants and stone plateaus. In effect, none of the paintings fully abandon the literal world completely. They instead engage the abstraction in quotidian life by suggesting that color has everything to do with worldly experience, such as jouissance, thrill and the excitement felt with each day. Their colorful distortions draw inspiration from Yuan Dynasty paintings, where the lyrical line becomes the definition of the art object, regardless of what it represents.