Tom Condon received his BFA in Painting from Virginia Tech and his MFA in Photography and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University, VCUarts. Tom’s art is professionally represented by ADA Gallery in Richmond, Virginia and has appeared in International art fairs and competitions such as UNTITLED Miami, SCOPE (Miami and New York), the Affordable Art Fair, and artDC. He has received artist grants from the Chautauqua School of the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and a professional fellowship in printmaking from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Tom Condon exemplifies that amalgam of painting and photography with his unique silver gelatin chemigrams. This experimental process utilizes a painterly application of photochemistry to light sensitive paper creating new imagery that Tom describes as an “imagining of the simultaneous impossibility of the abstract and the familiarity of the real.” Currently, he is spending a year focusing exclusively on his studio practice as a Staff-Artist, at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.
As a teen, I experienced a medical condition called Idiopathic Pseudotumor Cerebri which caused increased intracranial pressure on my optic nerves resulting in temporary blindness and permanent scarring of the nerve tissue. Because there are no cells to detect light on the optic disc, the corresponding part of the field of vision is invisible. Process’ in our brains interpolate the blind spot based on surrounding detail and information from the other eye, creating a perceptual fabrication.
Blind spots transform familiar faces into strange masks and bend simple patterns into animated optical illusions. My relationship with identification through visual perception slips between fully believing in the unreal and questioning the real. Employing photography as the vehicle to navigate the space between these two polar experiences amplifies the human need for image recognition and demands a re-cognition of what potentially could be. I imagine the simultaneous impossibility of the abstract and the familiarity of the real, precariously combining to counter photography’s often-presumed objectivity.
As a non-objective artist, I engage in an intuitively haptic process of manipulating paper, emulsion, light, chemistry, and time to generate camera-less photographs. My recent work is comprised of Chemigrams, an experimental process of painting on light-sensitive paper with photographic chemicals to create new—rather than reveal existing—images. I use unconventional materials as resists to mediate the paper’s response to light and chemistry, inviting chance as a partner in authorship. I construct art objects to reflect material experience rather than engage with the basic function of the photograph as a mode of documentation or image transmission. This technique explores the flexibility of photographic material and elasticity of photographic identity.
To view more of Tom’s work please visit his website.