Elizabeth Congdon is an oil painter best known for her floral still lifes and plein-air landscapes. She received her BA in Art at University of California at Santa Cruz, and her MFA with honors in Painting at Laguna College of Art and Design. She grew up in New York City, and later moved to Jamestown, RI, where she co-founded the Jamestown Arts Center. She has been a member of the AAN since 1998, and now is the Director of Adult Programming. She is represented on Nantucket by Robert Foster Fine Art.
My recent paintings explore the interplay between realist painting and human imagination. What is recognizable to the eye in representational art can serve as a departure point for looking into what many be hidden in our minds. Imagination affords us a protected place to experiment with ideas, thereby helping us to mature and evolve. All we can imagine in the private confines of our mind can challenge our limits and biases. For many years I have painted flowers, ocean, land, and interiors, as symbols of sanctuary and places to heal. In my thesis work at I have painted women in my family accessing their imaginations in order to deepen moments of introspection. They are ensconced in the exterior worlds they have designed as camouflage to protect their inner worlds. The still life with skulls represent the elegant physical structures that contain our thoughts. I have painted animal skulls to better focus on instinct—decision making at it’s most simple manifestation. Rather then expressing the macabre, I paint these bones as symbols of endurance and purity, Away from their physical living bodies, I present them in make shift altars as an act of reverence. My intention is to create images that spark the viewer’s imagination to consider new possibilities—rather than escape into fantasy or build delusions—bringing us closer to appreciating the complexities of our lives and the world around us. I believe art helps us to understand facts.