EXHIBIT STATEMENT by Condon
Series: Agriculture All-Around—Agriculture Run Aground
Dairy farmers are facing a perfect storm of factors that have led to the loss of over two family farms a day: falling milk prices due to globalization, political polarization, industrialization, efficiencies of scale unreachable by small farmers buried in rising debt, and trade wars and tariffs to name a few. The state of Wisconsin has been a leader in the nation for total of Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies for the last ten years. Family farmers are being forced into extinction.
I live and work in a small town in Wisconsin. I own and operate a gallery/studio on the main street and drive a school bus. My route winds through the rural farm areas that surround our town. Viewing the Wisconsin landscape is a privilege, but there is a subtext of struggle that I can’t ignore.
As an artist, I cannot focus on either the positive pure beauty of the Wisconsin rural landscape or the negative loss of small-town and rural lifestyles and vista. In this series, I feature both, and I believe it is my most important and accomplished work to date.
In my search to convey the beauty and strength of the farm landscape, as well as the loss of a lifestyle, I modeled my series of 26 pastel paintings on Maurice Sendik’s alphabet book, Alligators All Around. Instead of Sendik’s alliterative phrases like “Bouncing Balls,” or “Catching Colds,” my titles juxtapose the factors facing today’s farmers: “Bucolic Bovines — Burgeoning Bankruptcies,” Cowherd Charm — Climate Change.” Each painting is accompanied by a brief description to provide a primer into the factors behind the loss of small farms across the United States.