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 realism and imagination. Through representational art I can establish an accepted form of truth–a buy in factor to the image–then spark curiosity by introducing elements of surprise to engage the viewer. I heightened color, manipulate perspective, and compose unlikely situations in order to build a story that is at once familiar but invites questions and associations as the viewer enters the painting and continues the narrative in their own minds. I believe that in this space there is an opportunity for transcendence, an evolution of our understanding of the world around us. Dramatic weather, fleeting luminosity, unexpected pairings of objects can all be conduits for the ultimate creative question: “what now?” So whether I am painting a familiar landscape, flower, person, or animal, I am also holding up something whose beauty beckons examination our own existence by helping us to step out of our default modes of thinking and feeling, and embrace a more openminded, flexible way of understanding the world.