international painting annual 1 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Elise Schweitzer
Indianapolis, IN

Herron School of Art and Design, Instructor


page 147


Certain paintings tend to haunt me in my studio.  While working on my Masters of Fine Arts degree I was haunted by John Singer Sargent's "El Jaleo" and the sickeningly sweet odalisques of Courbet and Ingres. I made paintings that referenced the music and dance of the Middle East and North Africa, and each painting became a theatrical construction, turning a passage of music into repeated shapes and colors depicting dancers, musicians and the light around them.

Since then I've moved the party outside and invite all my other friends.  These friends keep showing up in my work; naked women, snakes, oversaturated fruit and flowers, and now they're suggesting Greek and Roman myths of Cassandra and Apollo, finding Ovid's Metamorphoses through Titian's "Bacchus and Ariadne" and Manet's "Luncheon on the Grass."

The paintings included in this publication depict Hera and Cassandra, two mythological characters with potent, conflicted personas.  Hera, the Greek goddess of marriage and fertility, was not above sending snakes into her infant stepson's cradle when her husband strayed.  Cassandra fell asleep in the wrong temple and the resident temple snakes licked her ears clean, allowing her to hear whispers of future events.  These two problematic female archetypes present wonderful dichotomies: violence and tenderness, inspiration and silence.  As the figure for Cassandra was developing, her intense, urgent gaze communicated so strongly against her closed mouth and clasped hands.  Hera's matronly body, her large hips and thick thighs suggest softness, stability, a sedentary fleshiness that weighs against the fury of color and brushstroke.


born: 1982, United States


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

selected awards/honors

Vermont Studio Center Residency and Artist's Grant, 2011
Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship, Herron School of Art and Design, 2008
Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, 2007
Henry J. Scheidt Memorial Travel Scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2006

selected group shows

Manifest Gallery: PAINT, Cincinnati, OH, 2010
Zhou B Art Center: National Wet Paint Exhibition, Chicago, IL, 2010
Lexington Art League: Nude 2009, Lexington, KY, 2009

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