Week 39: Lily Stockman
“Flat Top (Blue)” (2016)
This ‘An Artist a Week’ focus is where I reveal I am still very much a novice student of modern art in that I’m still working on learning terminology and categorization of everything. That being said, this week’s focus is on Lily Stockman, an artist with education of Buddhist thangka and Mughal painting creating beautiful contemporary (abstract?) art.
Despite not being well-versed in modern art styles, I am pulled into the simplicity of Stockman’s paintings, which tend to be extremely minimalist renderings of nature. I love the broad brushstrokes, the command of the canvas (usually oil on linen), the color palettes whether muted or bright.
In doing research on Stockman (and abstract art to better explain what I like about her work), I learned that the geometric stylings she uses are actually part of a tradition going back to the 1970s of feminist abstraction, a subgenre all its own.
(It is interesting to me that someone who studied the wildly intricate linework of Buddhist thangka and mandalas does so much with such simple lines, but perhaps that is just a testament to how learning about different styles encourages uniqueness in your own.)
So, what is Stockman’s work? Biometric, feminist, abstract, contemporary, squiggly lines? Is it silly to personify these simple lines? I don’t think so. I think they feel strong, self-contained and self-assured, without being cold or clinical like other modern paintings that are so straight-edged and unyielding. These were done by hand, these were done by a human.
I’ve spent a lot of this blogpost trying to figure out how to explain what these simple lines make me feel, and even how they make me feel, but maybe that’s the beauty of it: you don’t have to express it, so long as you feel it.
Lily Stockman’s art makes me feel something. There, I said it.