Block title

Work Samples

untitled

8" x 24" 2018 Oil on Dibond

MICA

30" x 40" 2016 Oil on Panel

Yellow Warehouse

24" x 24" 2015 Oil on Panel

Ladder

24” x 48” 2014 Oil on Panel

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About Lillian

Baltimore City

Lillian Bayley Hoover's picture
Lillian Bayley Hoover’s paintings explore the banal, awkward, overlooked, and imperfect elements of our material environment. Recent solo exhibitions include H​olding Space​ at Goya Contemporary (2018) and F​or the Moment​ at VisArts (2016). She has participated in group exhibitions at Delaware Art Museum, American University Museum, Creative Alliance, School 33, and Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (Aichi, Japan). Hoover has been awarded residencies at Vermont... more

Torn

With this work, I'm thinking about what is torn away or excised, what is permitted and not permitted, how this can be a form of loss and also of protection. Various visual languages and surfaces interrupt our experience of the spaces we inhabit and interactions with what is considered "wild."

Torn, part 2

With this work, I'm thinking about what is torn away or excised, what is permitted and not permitted, how this can be a form of loss and also of protection. Various visual languages and surfaces interrupt our experience of the spaces we inhabit and interactions with what is considered "wild."

Holding Space

Much of my past work features visual phenomena and tensions that are routinely overlooked but quietly thrilling. The paintings possess a meditative quality: they are both refuge from and embrace of the world, as well as an invitation to the viewer for shared presence. But something broke for me in 2017 — it was a hard year for many in our country. The work I’d been making no longer felt sufficient to process the pervasive despair, anxiety, and brokenness I encountered and felt at every turn. I began covering my paintings with many layers of thin white glazes: in burying them, I could simultaneously deny one’s access (an act motivated by fury and fear) and preserve them for a safer time (a hopeful action). I simplified in other ways, too, and “tore” critical information away. ​Holding Space ​at Goya Contemporary was an attempt to process this collective existential crisis. In a departure from previous work, the series ventures into the uncomfortable space of partial destruction, incomplete information, and uncertainty. The paintings ask the viewer to dwell in this space, to wait, to look, to hold space for what is to come.

Holding Space, part 2

Much of my past work features visual phenomena and tensions that are routinely overlooked but quietly thrilling. The paintings possess a meditative quality: they are both refuge from and embrace of the world, as well as an invitation to the viewer for shared presence. But something broke for me in 2017 — it was a hard year for many in our country. The work I’d been making no longer felt sufficient to process the pervasive despair, anxiety, and brokenness I encountered and felt at every turn. I began covering my paintings with many layers of thin white glazes: in burying them, I could simultaneously deny one’s access (an act motivated by fury and fear) and preserve them for a safer time (a hopeful action). I simplified in other ways, too, and “tore” critical information away. ​Holding Space ​at Goya Contemporary was an attempt to process this collective existential crisis. In a departure from previous work, the series ventures into the uncomfortable space of partial destruction, incomplete information, and uncertainty. The paintings ask the viewer to dwell in this space, to wait, to look, to hold space for what is to come.

For the Moment

The relationship between unfettered, dynamic sky and the static restraint of banal architecture also figures prominently in this work. These places are not special; we do not encounter the sublime. The architecture interrupts, compresses, frames the sky, grounding the viewer and locating her in this world. Mindful and appreciative of the fleeting moment, yet still bearing the history of the place, the paintings are comfortable with awkwardness. The act of looking slows us, quiets us, allows us to notice.

Simple, quiet, still, somewhat uneasy: the everyday visual elements of concrete life circumstances are more compelling than we often expect. In this spirit—as ordinary, imperfect materials momentarily engage in arresting formal relationships—these paintings are animated by issues of abstraction.

Borders

These paintings continue to become simpler, quieter, more still, somewhat uneasy, always invested in the changing conditions of light. I am constantly delighted by the banal visual elements of specific life circumstances, which so often become more compelling than one might expect. In this spirit—as ordinary, imperfect materials are momentarily engaged in awkwardly arresting formal relationships—issues of abstraction continue to be present in these paintings. The liminal spaces I’ve chosen to explore here are comprised of patterns, textures, shapes, and shadows that appear to have arranged themselves with care, awaiting the viewer’s notice.

The subject matter in this series derives from encounters with my neighborhood while taking regular meditation walks, during which I observe the world. The paintings become a record of the daily forms with which I live. I've long felt that things become valuable to us as a result of the attention we pay to them; in some way, attention translates into appreciation. Consequently, the following observation by Frederick Franck resonated with me deeply when I came across it recently: "I have learnt that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start to draw an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is."

In my neighborhood, the border between a commercial storage space or industrial building and residential lot is permeable: side-by-side, these structures don't belong wholly to one world or the other. This work focuses on the awkward spaces that develop as a result. These paintings also depict many literal barriers: walls, fences, oscillated strand board, bridges, industrial doorways. I'm interested in what happens at the interface between public and private, between a space to which we are granted access and a space to which we are not granted access.

Geometry infuses these paintings, and to some extent I envision this geometry as evidence of human endeavor—so often overruled or undermined by the passing of time and the inevitability of subsequent actions and events. Fascinating irregularities of form and inconsistencies of logic thus emerge.

As in previous work, I continue to be drawn to very banal and awkward subject matter—none of these places is special. What interests me is the way in which something becomes special through sustained attention. In these forgettable, unprepossessing details, I find quietude. The quietude that accompanies these empty places and "wrong" bits isn't insecure, fearful, or nostalgic. Rather than an indictment, the acknowledgement of these awkward moments becomes about present-ness and the joy of looking. This quietude is comfortable with awkwardness, appreciative and mindful of the fleeting moment. These paintings aren’t hopeful, nor waiting or longing. While these spaces do wear their history, they don’t ruminate over what was or look forward to the future, but instead murmur “this is what is.”

Borders, part 2

These paintings continue to become simpler, quieter, more still, somewhat uneasy, always invested in the changing conditions of light. I am constantly delighted by the banal visual elements of specific life circumstances, which so often become more compelling than one might expect. In this spirit—as ordinary, imperfect materials are momentarily engaged in awkwardly arresting formal relationships—issues of abstraction continue to be present in these paintings. The liminal spaces I’ve chosen to explore here are comprised of patterns, textures, shapes, and shadows that appear to have arranged themselves with care, awaiting the viewer’s notice.

The subject matter in this series derives from encounters with my neighborhood while taking regular meditation walks, during which I observe the world. The paintings become a record of the daily forms with which I live. I've long felt that things become valuable to us as a result of the attention we pay to them; in some way, attention translates into appreciation. Consequently, the following observation by Frederick Franck resonated with me deeply when I came across it recently: "I have learnt that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start to draw an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is."

In my neighborhood, the border between a commercial storage space or industrial building and residential lot is permeable: side-by-side, these structures don't belong wholly to one world or the other. This work focuses on the awkward spaces that develop as a result. These paintings also depict many literal barriers: walls, fences, oscillated strand board, bridges, industrial doorways. I'm interested in what happens at the interface between public and private, between a space to which we are granted access and a space to which we are not granted access.

Geometry infuses these paintings, and to some extent I envision this geometry as evidence of human endeavor—so often overruled or undermined by the passing of time and the inevitability of subsequent actions and events. Fascinating irregularities of form and inconsistencies of logic thus emerge.

As in previous work, I continue to be drawn to very banal and awkward subject matter—none of these places is special. What interests me is the way in which something becomes special through sustained attention. In these forgettable, unprepossessing details, I find quietude. The quietude that accompanies these empty places and "wrong" bits isn't insecure, fearful, or nostalgic. Rather than an indictment, the acknowledgement of these awkward moments becomes about present-ness and the joy of looking. This quietude is comfortable with awkwardness, appreciative and mindful of the fleeting moment. These paintings aren’t hopeful, nor waiting or longing. While these spaces do wear their history, they don’t ruminate over what was or look forward to the future, but instead murmur “this is what is.”

As It Is

An outgrowth of previous examinations of disintegrating architectural models, the focus of this series continues to be on awkward interruptions of what might typically be considered the "right" picture. Each painting represents a single brief moment in which routine artifacts of one’s daily life are illuminated and transformed, activated by the momentary attention. Banal, domestic flaws—features that are typically avoided in the course of self-representation—are here given center stage. These stained, chipped, misaligned, and untidy items are intensely personal, but the paintings aren’t of a confessional nature. Instead, the tableaus explore the delight of discovery as ordinary, imperfect materials are momentarily engaged in awkwardly arresting formal relationships. My interest in the unstable line between abstraction and representation remains a prominent thread in this work.

Each of these images are clearly informed by photography’s ability to “fix” a moment in time and by the logic of selection that accompanies the era of digital manipulation. Nevertheless, these works embrace the language of painting more completely than previous series did. Photography is no longer deployed as a distancing or filtering mechanism, the emphasis on photographic depth of field is eliminated, and the paintings’ surfaces are of a tactile nature. Both the artist’s hand and the viscosity of paint have become more active participants in the work. And while the use of photography and cropping remain central to this process, the character of my photographic sources has changed. No longer "trophies" or souvenirs of the spectacle of power—and tourism—the images and moments are definitively mine, embracing the incidental and insignificant facets of my personal environment.

Sites of Power

"Sites of Power" explores structures in which power, an abstract concept, is embodied or performed. The paintings are based on my photographs of the scale models at Istanbul’s Miniaturk theme park. As imagery is translated from one medium to another, it becomes distorted: the “real” is processed and filtered, creating distance between the viewer and subject.

Painted with a clear reference to their photographic sources, but with severe cropping and awkward point-of-view, the images are reduced to formal composition, pattern and color, remaining only minimally recognizable. These quasi-abstract paintings thus return the reified concept of power to an abstract state, denuding the structures of the power they once wielded.

Further erosion occurs as moments of material imperfection are featured: cracks in plaster, Astroturf that curls up from its substrate, water stains on tarmac. In this way, an element of human frailty and disintegration is apparent in the otherwise idyllic model. The grand structures with which humans proclaim their power, wealth, status, and knowledge are not merely places: their influence and control over human behavior are performative exercises of power. When the building blocks are viewed up close, however, the intimidation upon which this control is based begins to break down.

This series attempts to further dismantle the mythology of such sites by disregarding the actual grand buildings as source material: the paintings instead reference photographs of their scale models. In presenting a miniature facsimile, models tame and disarm the mighty. When these tamed structures are subsequently photographed, they become souvenirs that literally fit in one’s pocket, or in the palm of one’s hand. This reference is significant and, consequently, the paintings preserve photographic details such as shallow depth of field and bokeh produced by the camera lens.

From Here

"From Here" employs the naïve language of toys, models, and plastic dolls to investigate the unsettling realm of international political conflict. Many Americans experience the events in Iraq solely through imagery mediated by news outlets, or other filtration systems. These paintings reenact this process of filtration and the inevitable simplification and distortion of facts, as real-world signifiers are transformed from one medium to the next. For the work in this series, this filtration process first entails the construction of a model scenario, then photographing the model and, finally, painting from the resulting still image.

Seen from a safe distance, imagery of the war elicits a range of responses including, among others, voyeurism, apathy, denial, self-concern, and impotent compassion. The fighting there is far from over. But as our soldiers and correspondents return, the war also comes home, along with a multiplicity of painful struggles that will remain with us for many years. These paintings examine some of the varied ways Americans have experienced the Iraq war. Model figures and toy dolls represent the housewife, the student, the businessman, and the soldier, all occupying the uneasy utopia of a model world. External signifiers, which suggest a greater embattled reality, interrupt this world and impose themselves on the viewer.

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Lillian's Curated Collection

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