rhys conlon

Rhys Conlon majored in fine art and creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and later earned an MA in art history at Hunter College, City University of New York. In addition to working as an artist, she has held positions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Today, she serves as head of publications at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Rhys is an active member of the Columbia Pike Artist Studios in Arlington, Virginia.

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Artist's Statement


Nature—in the broadest sense—is the driving force behind this body of work. Part impulse and part calculation, each painting slowly evolves. At inception, I typically have an image at hand, but this is merely a place to start. The canvas quickly fills with patches of color, shapes, and distinctly textured areas. Then the contemplation and editing begins. Lines form; marks disappear; pigments mix and change. Layering is where I discover those compositions that my imagination could never conjure up on its own—that is, without paint. As I account for balance and strive to create an engaging rhythm, there is often a sense of struggle, but eventually I am faced with a finished surface.


What is nature.
Nature is what is.
But is nature natural.
No not as natural as that.

Gertrude Stein

Because, between 'reality' on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there's a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.

Donna Tartt


© Rhys Conlon, 2018