Stop. Sit. Ponder…

The noise level in my house is, at times, deafening, sometimes nerve-wracking, but always constant.  Imagine three 3-year olds endlessly battling for attention and “air-time!”  I can’t process my own thoughts many days and often feel like “referee” is a better job title than “mom.”  So, when I came across these series of paintings by Matt Condron at the Arden Gallery in Boston, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

"Blue Notes," 2010, oil on canvas on panel, 40 x 60" ©Matt Condron

“Blue Notes” caught my attention first (because of the 3 chairs).  Are they seats in airport? at a bus station? or a laundromat?  To me (a person who longs for “quiet” time after hanging out with toddlers all day), these chairs seem inviting – a chance to be “forced” to sit and do nothing, decompress and relax.  But as I stared at the painting, I thought, does anyone stop, sit and just ponder anymore?  What the painting portrays is a place where one has to wait.  But nowadays, when we have to sit and wait, most of us are multi-tasking;  listening to iPods, texting or browsing and responding to emails on our smart phones, making phone calls or reading (newspapers, magazines or books).  Does anyone just sit, stare off into space and daydream, people watch or meditate?  Then I switched gears again.  Do people look at this painting and feel lonely or isolated or stuck (somewhere)?  It’s amazing the feelings and thoughts that art provokes. 

  When I got to the next painting, “Seaside Laundromat,” I thought, okay, if I lived near a laundromat like that, I might actually haul my 10+ loads of laundry (that I do every week) there, and totally chill on the beach!  But I certainly wouldn’t be sitting on the chairs inside.  Then I think, why again, do we live in the Northeast?   I make the assumption that this is a Pacific beach – why? maybe because I grew up in Southern California – and it feels like SoCal to me.  But it could be a South Carolina or Florida beach too.  I guess the retro-70’s colors, the teal/turquoise colored chairs and the paneled rust wall color combination, coupled with the style of the chairs (which send flashbacks to a school classroom) feel like my childhood.  (…and I just dated myself.)  

"Seaside Laundromat," 2010, oil on canvas on panel, 30 x 40" ©Matt Condron


Finally, “High Desert Station.”  The single orange chair stands out, but behind the chairs, outside the window, is a breathtaking view.  My thoughts:  do the chairs really have their backs to the window?  Shouldn’t they face out with a view like that?  or was that intentional on the artists’ part?  The number of chairs, 8 in total, 7 brown – is there any story behind that? Does the orange chair represent some sort of symbolism?  or is this a depiction of an actual desert station?  It almost seems surreal.  The perspective in the painting – the lines from the tile flooring, the shadows from the arched window – draws focus to the mountain range horizon and feels reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”  

"Hight Desert Station," 2008, oil on canvas on panel, 30 x 40" ©Matt Condron


After contacting Hope, the owner of the Arden Gallery, to ask permission to feature Matt Condron’s work, she was kind enough to pass along this write-up about the artist to me.  

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