Elise Adibi


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.

Solo exhibitions include Respiration Paintings at Full Haus in Los Angeles, “Substance” at Louis B. James in New York, Metabolic Paintings at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. (2013); 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 and The Harvard Advocate among other publications.

Adibi will be having her first solo museum show at The Frick Pittsburgh in April 2017. Respiration Paintings in the greenhouse at The Frick Pittsburgh will be a site-specific installation of plants, paintings and perfume. Adibi will work with the innate characteristics of the greenhouse—making use of the natural light, seasonal changes, and elevated humidity to both display and transform her artwork. Planned as a series of paintings installed to surround the viewer and coexist with the plants, Respiration Paintings explores the interconnection and intimate relationship between art, nature and people.

Elise Adibi’s paintings are made from “living” matter. Her materials include: graphite and charcoal, which are forms of carbon, an element essential to all organic life; mineral pigments in oil paints; essential plant oils used for aromatherapy; rabbit skin glue, which is an animal protein; and occasionally human urine (her own). It is Adibi’s belief that these materials interact within the painting, verging on the metabolic. Adibi uses the language of abstraction and primarily the grid to create paintings that are engaged in a process of temporality and embodiment. Adibi’s grid is not made of perfectly straight lines and 90-degree angles, but rather is always the result of a human and bodily process. With her use of essential plant oil and pure gold, she creates surfaces that change optically and olfactorily. For Adibi, the painting exists not as a fixed object, but as the substance between matter and cognition. 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 and the animate and the inanimate.