international painting annual 6 exhibition-in-print
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Elise Schweitzer
Roanoke, Virginia

detail image


For the last three years I've worked on a series of paintings and drawings titled "Parachute Suite." These paintings explore the variety of responses we experience in moments of crisis through a fantastical and non-linear narrative. In this series a skydiver jumps out of a plane and a parachute bursts open and fills with air, like a baby's first breath. There's a period of elation and expansive horizons. Then a line crosses, something technical goes wrong, and instead of a calm, rational descent, the parachute and its counterweight spin through the sky. The skydiver crashes down far away from the intended landing site, and the parachute slowly crumples to the ground. Afterwards, people come and carefully pack the fabric away.

This narrative closely mimics many religious and mythological narrative cycles. There is a martyrdom scene where the crashed skydiver lands in a backyard, and a resurrection scene where a woman climbs out of the orange and white striped silk. Some characters are good first responders, some are ambivalent about the crisis. One guy is just upset about dropping his beer in the grass. The fate of the skydiver is left uncertain.†

I paint these large canvases outdoors, on location, with models covered in sunscreen and bug spray and my parachute caught up in a tree or draped across a wading pool. Some viewers find these paintings very sad, others rather funny. I work on the paintings for months, and my own feelings on the subject shift and change. I find meaning in both the comic and the tragic interpretations of the story.†





born: 1982, St. Louis, Missouri



Indiana University Bloomington, MFA, 2009
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Certificate, 2006
University of Pennsylvania, BFA, 20063


selected awards/honors

Award of Excellence and Purchase Prize, Exhibition 280, Huntington Museum of Art, 2015
Finalist, Bethesda Painting Award, 2015
Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, 2010 and 2007


selected solo or two-person exhibits

On the Sky's Watch: Parachute Suite, Academy of Fine Arts, Lynchburg VA, 2015
Mise-en-ScËne, Pageant and Place, Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, 2014
Parachute Suite, Andrews Gallery, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, 2014
Crisis and Compassion, Doris Ulmann Gallery, Berea College, Berea, KY, 2013


selected group shows

Exhibition 280, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington WV, 2015



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