Cecelia Condit

Fusing humor and horror, the whimsical and the macabre, Cecelia Condit tells stories that uncover dark fantasies of the subconscious beneath the surreal suburban landscape of Middle America. Condit's elliptical narratives, which have been termed "feminist fairy tales," put a subversive spin on the traditional mythologies of female representation and the psychologies of sexuality and violence. In her most recent operatic narratives, Condit restages the domestic melodrama to confront the family, aging, and loss.

Writes Condit: "I consider myself a storyteller whose work swings between beauty and the grotesque, humor and the macabre, innocence and cruelty. My videos explore the dark side of female subjectivity and address the fear, aggression and displacement that exist between ourselves and society, ourselves and the natural world."

With morbid wit, Condit constructs collages of processed video, Super-8 film, found footage, original music and sung dialogue, layering autobiographical and archetypal references, popular and classical genres — from soap operas to fairy tales, music clips to gothic horror. Works such as Possibly in Michigan (1983) conjure a startlingly original vision of contemporary enchantment.

Condit's dreamlike tales of women whose worlds encompass cannibalism and shopping malls are disarmingly inventive, surprisingly poetic articulations of the obsessions, desires and nightmares that lie submerged beneath the quotidian. Fascinated with "the way the bizarre disrupts everyday life," she transforms the mundane into the uncanny, the familiar into the fantastic. Rewriting psychosexual narratives via the fairy tale — Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming, Beauty and the Beast — Condit recasts these myths in a uniquely female, deeply personal enunciation.

Condit was born in 1947. She received a B.F.A. in sculpture from the Philadelphia College of Art and an M.F.A. in photography from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, American Film Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. She is currently Professor of Film and Director of Graduate Studies in Film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Condit has had numerous exhibitions of her work in film, performance/installation, and photography. In 2008 she had a solo exhibition at Cue Art Foundation Gallery in New York. Her videotapes have been widely shown internationally, at institutions and festivals including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Paris Biennale; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, London; World Wide Video Festival, The Hague; Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; Long Beach Museum of Art, California; and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Condit lives in Milwaukee.