Eleanor Bond was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1948, and graduated from the School of Art at the University of Manitoba in 1976. In addition to visual art, Bond has pursued studies in several other areas including English literature, comparative religion and interior design. She also has a particular interest in the built environment and public space. This is evident in her paintings and drawings, where she explores the impact of technological developments and urban design on humans and animals, and reflects on current ideas of space, place and community.
Bond produces large canvases that represent the city, but she chooses unusual perspectives that threaten to give the viewer a sense of vertigo, or a case of dizziness. Her cityscapes are familiar to us, but at the same time they have a strong sense of unreality about them. Bond compounds this feeling of unreality by painting primarily in black and white, with just a few hints of color, giving her fictitious cityscapes a sleek, futuristic quality.
While Bond gives us a kind of bird’s-eye perspective on the cityscapes she creates, she limits our perspective to the familiar grid of urban streets, buildings and spaces. There is no horizon that our eyes can escape to for relief from the sense of unreality in her vision of the city. This adds to the sense that her cities are claustrophobic places where life is compressed or limited by the very technologies that have made the modern city possible.
Bond’s cityscapes, then, have no area code, but they also are not entirely works of fiction. The cities in her paintings exist somewhere in-between reality and illusion, reflecting the tensions that exist in contemporary cities. Bond seems to be saying that technology makes the amenities of the modern city possible, but at a cost to humanity’s need for connections with nature and each other.