Elise Adibi


Elise Adibi works with the mutability of painting, probing its boundaries as a medium and an object. Her paintings are made from living matter, including carbon, plant oils and proteins, sometimes even human matter, in the form of urine. The stuff that comprises her paintings is what we too are made of. The material continuum between the painted objects and the human subjects who view them is vital to her. Adibi uses the language of abstraction and primarily the grid to create paintings that are engaged in a process of temporality and embodiment. The paintings exist not as objects fixed in time, but as the substance that evolves dynamically between matter and cognition. It is her belief that the paintings are not inert objects but share the life process with us.

Adibi aims at the relationship between subject and object by means of a perceptual engagement with the material world encountered at close range. Hers are slow paintings that resist easy translation into image reproduction and dissemination and are made to be seen in person. In her paintings, Adibi pursues the relationship between the geometric and the biologic, the subjective and the objective, the animate and the inanimate. In recent years, with the use of essential plant oils, her practice has come to include multisensory installations of sight and smell. Adibi explores the salubrious possibilities of painting and its transformative power.

Adibi’s solo exhibitions include Respiration Paintings at The Frick Pittsburgh (2017), Respiration Paintings at Full Haus in Los Angeles (2016), Substance at Louis B. James in New York (2014), Metabolic Paintings at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. (2o13), Da Capo at Churner and Churner, New York (2012) and A Priori at Southfirst, Brooklyn (2010). In 2013 Adibi was invited to participate in The Armory Show Focus curated by Eric Shiner. Selected group exhibitions include New New York: Abstract Painting in the 21st Century at The Art Gallery at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2015), Performative Process at Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton (2013), and Gertrude’s/ LOT, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2011-2012). Adibi’s work has been reviewed in Artforum, The Boston Globe, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Blouin Modern Painters and The Harvard Crimson among other publications.

Elise Adibi received a MFA from Columbia University in 2007. She also has a BA in Philosophy from Swarthmore College and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Adibi is the recipient of a Fellowship at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2013-14). In 2007, The Terra Foundation awarded her a fellowship in Giverny, France.