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Eleanor Conover

2020-21 Alice C. Cole '42 Fellow: Eleanor Conover


Eleanor Conover is a contemporary artist whose work engages with the physical and material conditions of painting as a metaphor for environmental time and space. Also employing elements of drawing, language, and history, the works imply spaces and states of excavation and accumulation.


white walled, wood floored gallery with large, irregularly shaped abstract paintings on the walls


Glass Half Moon

Jewett Art Gallery

Sept. 8 - Nov. 5, 2021


Glass Half Moon brought a suite of 13 new paintings by Eleanor Conover to the Jewett Art Gallery at Wellesley College. At first glance many appear abstract, but look closer, and with time images begin to emerge and recurring motifs may be recognized. The title is a collision of the phrase 'glass half full (or empty)' with reference to the phases of the moon, and suggests that dichotomies of optimism and pessimism, plenitude and lack were very much on the artist's mind as she worked on this series through the intensely unusual prior year.
Drawing from multiple sources, the paintings together form a landscape where geologic time and the present collapse into a single moment, simultaneously outside of time itself and deeply embedded in the histories of art, science, archaeology, and personal narrative. Their surfaces are a palimsest of references and materials both. A number of the paintings in this exhibition include pieces of marble, resting against the frames or attached to the surface of the canvas. Marble is a metamorphic stone. Limestone-- itself a sedimentary rock, made up of the fossilized remains of what came before-- is subjected to unimaginably intense pressures and heat, deep within the earth. Over time, a transformation occurs, and the limestone metamorphoses into marble. All the works in this show undergo the same sort of metamorphic change.
two abstract works on paper in wood frames on a white wall
A House is to Build and Untitled (Trochee), 12 x 9" each, oil on paper with dyed pine artist frames, 2020
roughly heart-shaped abstract painting in creams, oranges, and dark pinks   abstract painting with irregular edges; tranlucent panels of mostly cream, green, and brown are stretched over an irregular grid frame
Blackberry-Picking, 67 x 49", dye, bleach, acrylic, charcoal, and oil on linen with beveled pine, 2021
F/old, 54 x 40", dye, bleach, acrylic, oil, and graphite on linen with beveled pine, 2020


Glass Half Moon, 67 x 49", dye, bleach, acrylic, oil, and graphite on linen with beveled pine and marble insert, 2020-21
Understudy, 70 x 50", dye, bleach, acrylic, graphite, oil, and marble on linen, 2021


irregularly shaped painting with painted and bleached surfaces, partly abstract with a ghostly portrait and tree near top right
Self Portrait with Marble, 72 x 52", dye, bleach, acrylic, oil, and graphite on linen with beveled pine and marble base, 2021
Born in Hartford, CT in 1988, Conover received her MFA at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her BA from Harvard College. Recent past exhibitions include Able Baker Contemporary (Portland, ME), Bad Water (Knoxville, TN), and Ortega y Gasset Projects (Brooklyn, NY). Her practice has been supported through artist residencies including Vermont Studio Center, Cow House Studios, and the Joseph A. Fiore Art Center. With an interest in land and the environment, she has additionally been involved in the research of geologic histories in Philadelphia, PA and visual work regarding ecology in coastal places as remote as the Aleutian Islands, AK. She received a post-MFA teaching fellowship at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has recently relocated to Carlisle, PA, where she is now an Assistant Professor of Art at Dickinson College.
detail of a predominately orange and yellow painting with gray and white stone rods attached to the surface
close up on a predominately burgunday painting with a piece of mottled grayish marble inset into it
three irregularly shaped abstract paintings and one small framed work on a white gallery wall


ink outline border of simple oak leaves


Eleanor Conover's website


ink outline border of simple oak leaves