“Art’s never been a decision — it’s just always been what I wanted to do,” MSU senior and art student Muriel Condon said in preparation for the opening of her exhibit “Oh, Wind.” The exhibit will be the first of the semester in the Exit Gallery, and its artist is both nervous and excited for the chance to showcase her work.
Condon, a Bozeman native, grew up in and around Bozeman, Livingston and Paradise Valley before finally graduating from Bozeman High School. From the time she was a young child to now, art has always been a major part of her life. “I don’t remember ever starting to like art — I just always did,” Condon said.
Her passion for art led her to MSU, where she is currently dual-focused in painting and printmaking. Her Exit Gallery exhibit consists of a collection of hand-printed curtains. Suffice to say, the work is incredibly unique, as is the meaning behind it.
“I wanted to play with curtains being a filter of light, a barrier of light,” Condon said. “[I] like talking about the separation of experience between mental or spiritual and the physical. A lot of the stuff I printed on the curtains is body imagery and really simple symbolism towards that — symbolism of deconstructing experience.”
Each piece in “Oh, Wind” is, literally, a curtain — as in, the curtains one finds hanging on rods over windows in almost any domestic living situation you can imagine. Of course, Condon’s curtains are a little more special than your average drapery. Each features a hand-printed design, and while some of the curtains were found and purchased, others were hand-sewn. In the case of the hand-sewn curtains, Condon selected the fabric based on “its translucency and the way it plays with light.” Positioned behind each curtain is a line drawing done in semi-gloss white paint — these drawings can only be seen when a viewer walks past and the light hits it just right.
Condon enjoyed the opportunity to work with fabric. “I like the [saying] ‘the fabric of DNA’ and how it’s ‘woven together,’” Condon said. “I like the idea of small segments creating one unified piece, just like cells in the human body or the thread in fabric.”
Condon also really wanted to do an installation that played with light. When that idea combined with the curtains, the concept for “Oh, Wind” really began to take shape.
“What I wanted to do with the curtains is make people aware of the difference between the physicality of the curtains and the [intangibility] of the light and try to connect that with being in a space with your physical body and trying to understand that mentally,” Condon said.
This is Condon’s final semester at MSU. Though she’s planning to take a break from school for a few years, she eventually wants to tackle grad school with the hopes of one day becoming a professor of painting or printmaking.
“I want to live a life where I can make my work, but also educate others and influence other people’s lives positively,” Condon said.
“Oh, Wind,” will be in the Exit Gallery until Friday, February 5. An artist reception is being held on Thursday, January 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.