Elisabeth Condon

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.
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Valéry noted that Morisot's "every phase, every moment was not so much shared with art as imbued with it, as though indistinguishable from the urge to see and the instinct to catch the bloom on what is seen." Likewise Condon in her temperament, at once studious and buoyant.

Franklin Einspruch, Delicious Line

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.
Erica Ando, Essay for Elisabeth Condon's Unnatural Life
1.     Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists (New York: Anchor Books, 2014), 39.

It is hard to gauge where this painting — or Heilmann’s other two contributions to the show, lopsided disks in glazed ceramic from 2012, one red and one yellow, delightful though they are — fit into the curatorial theme. The same can be said of Lucky DeBellevue’s exuberant installation of two abstract paintings in acrylic and printing ink mounted on a wall, which the artist stamped all over with orange rectangles like oversized confetti. Other contributions in this vein include Elizabeth Condon’s splashy, quasi-botanical “Fear of Life Can Be a Subtle Thing” (2015) in acrylic and glitter on linen; Jian-Jun Zhang’s brushy, black and white abstract monoprints; and Walter Biggs’ muscular and lustrous monochromatic mounds of graphite, sand, acrylic, and oil on linen stretched over a panel.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that these pieces, along with others in the show, render the premise irrelevant, in that any good work transcends its methods and making. But if the selection errs on the side of inclusiveness, it does so in the interest of formal strength and material beauty, a juncture where making a point takes a back seat to indulging the eye.

Thomas Micchelli, Hyperallergic

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.” 
Alanna Martinez, New York Observer
 
Collages of ideas and techniques coalesce without strain or self-consciousness. Somehow this panoply gives rise to our shared experience of the complexity of our time.If one were to assume she clings to simple formulaic solutions, one would be wrong. Condon approaches each new work with a fiery commitment to authenticity that charges her paintings and drawings with a presence that gives pause and requests one's full and reverent devotion. 
Jeff Hogue, Facebook Artist Conversations
 
Imagine if you could speak several languages, switching from one to
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.
Franklin Einspruch, Artcritical.com

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.
Joan Wickersham, author of The Suicide Index. Her column appears regularly in the Boston Globe.
 
In her best work, the distinction between abstration and representation becomes meaningless--form, space, color and architecture dance among themselves as limpidly as thought.
Stephanie Lee Jackson, PrettyLady.blogspot.com

[Oliver Sacks] might describe Elisabeth Condon's paintings as a purposeful adventure in synesthesia.
Nell, New Zealand Art Monthly

The result feels like a dream or memory suddenly, if fleetingly made visible.
Bill Van Siclen, Providence Journal

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.
Teresa Svoboda, author of ten books and Pirate Talk, a reverie about mermaids from Dzanc Books.
 
Derived from Chinese landscape paintings, Condon's scenes boldly visualize a destabilized, multi-layered world. Everything heaves and flows; even the rocks are in flux and hints of humans only emphasize their absence.It's the earth either coming apart or being reconstituted, paralleling images of natural destruction and war that have been omnipresent of late.
Lilly Wei, Dragon Veins catalogue essay
 
The work of Elisabeth Condon shows in an exemplary and very personal way the real USA. The country of unbound freedom and liberty, the melting pot where different cultures collide and create symbioses.
Elisabeth Condon can be as spontaneous and ecstatic as the archetype of a heavy drinking abstract expressionist, letting the paint drip and splash on the surface. She can be as cool as the most stone-faced POP artist, using the symbols of the easygoing Californian lifestyle she has known since childhood. She can be sensitive and elegant as a Chinese ink painter, describing minuscule people wandering off into the depth of the picture. She can be enigmatic and teasing without submitting to any kind of post-modern irony. The most characteristic aspect of her work, however, is a joy of life which strikes the viewer with the same kind of well-being and harmony as a painting by Matisse. 
Tom Jørgensen, Editor of the monthly art review “Kunstavisen”