Curvilinear symmetries and an Easter-egg palette (albeit one with a twist) lend this Los Angeles painter’s new canvases a delphic allure. Stockman’s compositions are both diagrammatic and vaporous, a combination that calls to mind the spiritualist abstractions of the American modernist Agnes Pelton. 11 November, 2022
The layered allusions in Stockman’s process come as little surprise: she ranks among the intellectual artists of her day, with an undergraduate degree from Harvard (in addition to an MFA in studio art from NYU). She also studied Buddhist thangka techniques in Mongolia and Rajput miniature painting in India. Ultimately, it’s coloration that fuels her. 11 October, 2022
Five artists standing in a studio with artwork and dogs
Lily Stockman is an abstract painter whose work has the cerebral mysticism of the Tibetan thangka paintings that she discovered in Mongolia and also perhaps the simplicity of the Shaker embroidery samplers that her artist grandmother passed down—“someone’s ecstatic experience translated into something that’s given to someone.” 12 March, 2022
Those who know Stockman’s work will find familiar shapes of the unfamiliar variety: the arch and its variant that looks like a coffee bean or beetle; the outline of a mushy brain; something like a slit; another that lies somewhere between a quill and a lightning bolt. In Stockman’s hands, geometry becomes somehow heavenly, organic. 16 October, 2020
The new paintings read less as transom-topped portals to spatial elsewheres than as presentations of things, however abstract, in the here and now. These primarily symmetrical compositions build up in layers of rectilinear ground in peachy pinks, sandy browns, and pale yellows of varying density and tone, with brush marks visible particularly at the ends of strokes. 07 October, 2020
I felt like I turbocharged my practice by not being able to paint for three-plus months,” Stockman says. “When I finally got back into the studio, I had all of these drawings and all these ideas and all of these color relationships I was interested in exploring. 08 September, 2020
I paint flat on sawhorses or a big work table in thin layers, diluting my oil paint down with medium to the consistency of watercolor sometimes, so the paint has to dry flat so it stays put and doesn’t drip. I might use a T-square to locate the central point of the bigger ones, but the small ones I just eyeball, and start working very freely in the underpainting, and slowly bring the outlines and shapes into a cleaner line in each successive layer. Once you see them in person you realize the lines and shapes are a little wobbly and off; it’s important you can see my hand in the work. No tape. 04 September, 2020
Drawing from the compositions of Fra Angelico’s fifteenth century frescoes, ninth century tradition of Indian miniature painting and the language of twentieth century American abstract painters, Stockman creates paintings that reference nature and give hints to plants, birds and places. The colorful voluptuous forms, which seem to float in space, were influenced by her time spent in Mongolia as an apprentice in Buddhist thangka painting and a year spent in Jaipur studying Indian miniature painting. 31 August, 2020
I paint like a printmaker; all that time block printing and breaking down a composition by rekh and datta, the fine lines that outline and define a shape, and the interior filler, helped me be a more patient, color-shape painter. I paint flat on sawhorses and build up layers by color, shifting opacity and transparency so you get all these very subtle shifts as you move around the painting and the light changes. 28 August, 2020
For its inaugural exhibition, Charles Moffett Gallery presents a series of colorful abstract paintings by Los Angeles artist Lily Stockman. 01 May, 2018