Condon’s injection of feminine elements into the predominantly male “grand gesture” of large-scale abstract painting manifests a feminist acknowledgment of individual experiences. Recalling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s proclamation, “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity,”[i] Condon’s paintings permit birds, flowers, and decoration to sit alongside expressions of angst and tensity, as well as beauty, as part of women’s, and human, experience.
To produce her latest canvases, Condon has experimented with some new approaches that, in effect, have made the production of her variety of abstraction as much the subject of these new works as the birds, flowers and other recognizable, if stylized, images that pop up in them. If an air of works-in-progress collectively wafts through them, it is not because these paintings are unfinished — not at all — but because among their main themes are abstraction’s enduring vitality and malleable expressiveness. As finished works, they feel at once tightly controlled and open-ended.
Edward M. Gómez, Hyperallergic
Elisabeth Condon has long been a visual gourmand and her appetites only ever increase. Her latest work at Lesley Heller shows her incorporating wallpaper patterns into a stock of tropes that already included Chinese scroll paintings, botanical diagrams, gestural abstraction, discotheque lighting, and divers borrowings from the whole world's history of landscapes.
Franklin Einspruch, Delicious Line
The paintings are displayed against a backdrop of red toile wallpaper, which features drawings from Ms. Condon’s sketchbooks. Notes from Shanghai wallpaper includes imagery of paper lanterns, bicycles strapped with boxes and goods, elements of the natural landscape, and skyscrapers of the Shanghai skyline.Juxtaposed with the red wallpaper are Ms. Condon’s brightly colored paintings, created with poured ink, oil, acrylic, watercolor, glitter, and in some cases mineral elements. Recognizable elements from the cityscape appear within the organic shapes and abstractions created by the bleeding paint, like the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower in Electric LotusLand (2014) or the bow of a ship from the harbor in Elephant Path (2014). “Elisabeth Condon’s new paintings are spectacular,” said Ms. Erf in a statement. “They convey a deep understanding of Chinese literati and postwar American painting traditions that’s surprisingly fresh and completely her own.”
another to suit your thoughts, inside of a single sentence. You might
begin in English for the sake of clarity, then change to Chinese for an
apt metaphor, then over to French for color and texture, then to Italian
for a bit of structure. Elisabeth Condon can do this, in paint.
The power of Elisabeth’s paintings has something to do with
paradox, I think. They’re exuberant but peaceful, joyous but rigorous, full of
movement but also very still. They’re informed by scholarship – her patient
study and deep love of Asian art – but their creation, which often begins with
pouring paint onto the canvas, is intensely physical and engaged. Each piece
has a dramatic initial impact, but the more you look, the more you see of the
subtleties of color and shape and flow. These are paintings you can keep coming
back to – individual, expressive, strong, and moving.
[Oliver Sacks] might describe Elisabeth Condon's paintings as a purposeful adventure in synesthesia.
The result feels like a dream or memory suddenly, if fleetingly made visible.
Oh, yes, Condon mentioned China at Yaddo, how she stole from its art, both high and low, over and over, and then it stole her. But China is not her only referent--her mind Seusses and warps around leaves, motorbikes, birdhouses. I know software that would be envious. And color! This Elisabeth "Color" Condon exhibits no fear of bold pink or salmon or rust or aquamarine or vivid slithery green. She's gone serious on a love affair with water and color and collage. Where does all this color go? No plane is safe, it bends, rounds corners sometimes even outside installation, it gets sculptural and then collapses. And what's left--her emptiness haunts, almost Dali. Forget about go, stop. What we see is how we live. So flashy-Miami, so gorgeous rococo, so Fragonard, so Takashi Murakami, so now. Watch Condon celebrate all life-in-a-frame with delicate flourish.