Amy Talluto’s reflections on a painting by Elisabeth Condon were initially presented in an interview with the artist in podcast episode 59 for Pep Talks for Artists. Elisabeth Condon is a frequent guest on the show, contributing to the series Elisabeth Condon Describes a Painting. In conjunction with Condon’s solo exhibition and participation in the Untitled fair, both with Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Miami,[LINK: https://emersondorsch.com/] Amy interviewed Elisabeth and described Condon’s Dusk, 2023, acrylic and mediums on linen, 30 x 21 inches, a painting included in her show. Dusk will be on view at the gallery from December 3, 2023, through February 3, 2024, in the exhibition Tempus Fugit.
Elisabeth Condon, Dusk, 2023
At first, we slip-slide into the slipstream of a smoothly painted, pale-mauve canvas that depicts a tall flower form: a stretchy tulip with a short stem. 3 fat petals reach almost to the top (one maybe only a hair’s-breadth from the edge), and they are simplified like cartoon fingers, tipped in lavender. Gold-edged white incursions disrupt the cool purple like manicured fingernails or icy volcanoes – cutting down and through into the body below.
Then there is the bulbous body: the body of the too-long tulip. Contained within this form is a universe; a galaxy of acrylic paint pours that swirls upward in a rich cloud of darkly deep cobalt blue and burnt sienna. The pour soars upwards into several blue-edged white pearlescent petal-like endpoints, set against a crystalline crosshatched background of pale blue, Naples yellow, and white. It also oozes down to make the bottom bulge and stem with a crispy burnt edge of orange and black.
Holding it all in from the sides are two vertical sienna-brown and raw-umber-brown crisscross plaid shapes that act like a wavy corset for the expanding singularity. They both contain brownish brush strokes made with a medium flat brush that are loose and gestural, hugging the curves of the flower and binding it.
Two moments occur in the painting that delight me with their impish rebelliousness. One: a naughty pearlescent pop (a shimmering white comet head) bursts out of its blue-sienna orbit into the brown latticed plaid edge where it’s not supposed to be. It’s a transgressor: a little escapee. And Second: A crackly lightning edge of white on the left side of the deep blue, sparking with electricity, reminding us that all life is charged.
Condon cites multiple themes in her work, such as Chinese brush painting, the flora of Florida, and the exotic floral and lattice-filled wallpapers of her childhood Los Angeles home, among others. She slow-churns these influences into her paintings, creating ecstatic visionary coagulates of pigment and natural form that liquefy our ideas of what paint – particularly acrylic paint – can do. Her paintings remind us that a whole universe can live in a pour and that everything is seeping, flowing, and exuding into everything else.
The title of her current show is Temporus Fugit, or “time flies”. We can imagine time rushing away from the painter as she submerges fully into the processes and ecosystems of her colorful, viscous world. But also, perhaps, Temporus Tarda. Because this painter’s hands have a unique power to freeze the fleeting flow of life mid-gush.
To Elisabeth Condon, all the world’s in a suspended swirl.
About the writer: Amy Talluto is a multimedia artist working in painting, sculpture and collage who lives in Upstate NY and hosts a podcast called “Pep Talks for Artists.” This written piece can be listened to as an audio essay in podcast form, as well as many others on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you get your podcasts. Amy Talluto’s monthly column “Whisperings from the Wormhole” will bring you artist-to-artist pep talks with topics ranging from self-doubt to artists who make work in their kitchens.