Side Angle Tide: Recent Works by Eleanor Conover
November 17 - December 15, 2022
Artists's talk: Thursday, November 17th, 4:30-5:30pm, Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema
List Gallery Reception: 5:30-7:00pm
The List Gallery, Swarthmore College is pleased to present Side Angle Tide, an exhibition of recent works by Eleanor Conover. The exhibition will take place November 17 – December 15, 2022. Conover will be honored as the Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist and lecture about her work on Thursday, November 17 at 4:30 PM in the Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema. The List Gallery reception will follow, 5:30 – 7:00 PM. An exhibition catalog with an essay by Eleanor Heartney will accompany the exhibition. List Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, Noon – 5:00 PM. Admission to the gallery and all events are free and open to the public.
Conover takes inspiration from varied interests, including geology, ecology, poetry, and geometry, and her creative process is equally interdisciplinary. The artist builds irregular polygonal canvases that, from a distance, suggest the forms of large, eccentrically shaped shields, windows, or anatomic forms. Viewing them more closely, Conover's imagery and materials may evoke varied associations, including nocturnal landscapes, geometric studies, or cabinets of wonder. Developing her compositions in concert with the eccentric shape of each canvas, Conover marshals a wide array of painting media, including both natural and artificial dyes, bleach, acrylic, oil, and graphite. In many canvases, compelling images, such as a large shell set on a window
sash or a plumb line hanging in front of a tilted grid, offer entry points into complex and mysterious worlds. She masterfully integrates such illusionistic forms with more abstracted passages of painting, bold fields of color and pattern, apertures, and collage materials, such as stone fragments, that ground her works in the "real" world.
Conover's compositions cannot be taken in all at once, but instead invite exploration. Like the poems of Emily Dickinson, works such as Tender Carpenter, High Tide offer resonant images, dramatic contrasts, and poignant elisions that invite viewers to draw their own conclusions. The fact that the edges of each canvas are beveled at a 45 degree angle, not perpendicular to the picture plane, accentuates the dynamism of each work. Whereas many traditional painters view structural supports (and even the perimeter of their canvases) as secondary to their imagery, Conover emphasizes both exterior and interior edges, harmonizes seemingly contradictory elements, and disrupts conventions of perspective and symmetry. If her lines, angles, and grids
imply an underlying geometric theorem, it is one that embraces multiplicity, transition, and entropy as well as order.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1988, Conover received a BA from Harvard College in 2010 and went on to earn an MFA at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in 2018. She was a teaching fellow at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, before relocating to Carlisle, PA, where she is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at Dickinson College. Weather Reader, at The Trout Gallery at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA; Glass Half Moon, at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; and Parts of an Immense Whole at Able Baker Contemporary, Portland, ME. Her work has been supported by numerous residencies, including at the Golden Foundation, New Berlin, NY; Eastern Frontier Educational Foundation, Norton Island, ME, the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, Jefferson, ME; the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; and Cow House Studios, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Conover's other awards include the Alice C. Cole ‘42 Fellowship, Wellesley College (2020-2021); a Presidential Fellowship from Temple University (2016- 2018), and a Dickinson College Faculty Spring Research Grant (2021).
This exhibition has been made possible by the Donald J. Gordon Visiting Artist Fund and the generosity of Joan Gordon