Monday, March 28, 2011

New Paintings!

{Agro Pop: The Industrial Grain Storage Facilities of India}

Installation view

Full Humidity / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Pink Mughal / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Spring Godown / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Status Quo / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Dehradun Cash Cow / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Punjabi Remix / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Sugar Cane / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Good Business / oil on panel / 12 x 16 in.

Excerpt from SUPER/POWER catalogue (click on image for bigger, easy-to-read version)

What's hotter than industrial grain storage facilities in India? Not much, people. Come see the new paintings (and the insaneface installation of work by my three cohorts, starring a pimped-out rickshaw that will make you blush) on opening night at Threshold Gallery in New Delhi, Friday April 1st, 6-7:30 PM. This is the culmination of nearly eight months of work (researching and developing the project and making the paintings was the easy part; getting funding for the traveling exhibition and organizing the logistics of moving an art show around India, not so much), and the icing on the cake is that the Times of India did a feature on the show today (!), complete with a rambling quote about the architectural monuments of India's contemporary visual landscape etc., etc., etc. by yours truly, which you can read online here.

Urthing's for sale, people, so if something strikes your fancy hit me up before the show opens to the masses on Friday night! lily.stockman at All oil on panel, 100% archival, mounted in custom-made minimalist frames.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Curtains I Didn't Steal

{Three Images for the Weekend}

1. A riot of daisies blooming streetside in New Delhi (real flowers! in Delhi!)
2. Marvelous vintage hand-woven natural-dyed ikat curtains at a friend's studio. If I were in the habit of making off with people's curtains, I'da made off with these babies right quick. But if learned anything from two years of first grade it's that you don't want people going around saying you steal curtains.
3. The cheerful colors of an autorickshaw interior, uncheerfully abandoned mid-traffic jam by its apoplectic auto-wallah after a fender-bender. I've gotten really good at minor car accidents and squat toilets, by the way.

Have a maaahvelous weekend. I'll be posting images of the new paintings on Monday, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Pink City Pageant

{Why A Beauty Pageant for Elephants Makes Me Feel Hopeful About Japan}

India is an in-your-face daily spectacle of the haves and the have-nots, of the wonders and horrors of humanity. There are bombings, burnings, murders, rapes, tramplings, riots, earthquakes, landslides, floods and droughts enough to bring a less adaptive society to its knees. There are 460 million people living below the global poverty line (there are more people living in abject poverty in India than in all of sub-Saharan Africa combined). And yet. And yet. The Indians carry on. They paint elephants and bedazzle them in silver bells and silk brocades, pack Independence-era mortar tubes with confetti, strap them onto the backs of camels, and throw outrageous celebrations of spring. Rich, poor, high caste, low caste, Hindu, Muslim, grandmas in saris and granddaughters in Juicy Couture. Everyone came out to welcome in the festival of Holi at Jaipur's One and Only 100% A+ Pink City Elephant Beauty Pageant. And it was *glorious.*

As we all wring our hands in despair, helplessness, grief, and guilt (yup. don't pretend you're immune to the Guilt of The Priveledged) over the situation in Japan, it's helpful to open my eyes wide to the vibrant heroics of Indian life and marvel at the enduring triumph of the human spirit.  Have faith, muggles.

P.S. Chamba, the she-elephant with the lion-eating-the-chital-deer painted on her face (top photo), won the beauty pageant. And although PETA might find her trappings and face paint unconscionable, I for one thought she was the most glamorous ellie I've ever seen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Lady of Hope

{An All-Inclusive Appeal to the Powers That Be}

Hey crew. The opening was amazing, but let's talk about it next week. Bigger stories to follow right now, and hard ones to swallow.

But in the spirit of keeping the faith (whatever be your conviction or persuasion), here are some shots of the gorgeous 17th century Portuguese churches around Old Goa in southern India, including the stunning effigy of Our Lady of Hope (third picture from top). Originally carved from wood by Franciscan friars in Italy, she was brought to Goa by Portuguese sailors in the heyday of the spice trade, and beautifully painted in gold leaf, cobalt, and buttermilk-marble paste by local Hindu-turned-Catholic craftsmen in 1652. Despite the unsavory history of religious conversion, it was breathtaking to watch pilgrims -Catholic and Hindu alike- light candles and lay garlands of marigolds at the feet of Our Lady of Hope.

As far as religion goes, I'm an opportunist and firm believer in seeking out all the help you can get (must be the pagan Pictish blood from my Scottish side of the family). So although I'm no Hindu, tonight I bought a string of marigolds from the one-legged lady on the street and made an offering to the Ganesh shrine our landlords built into the space above our front door. So to Ganesh I ask he remove what seem like insurmountable obstacles at Fukushima, and to Our Lady of Hope I pray to keep safe the people of Japan. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Beach Dogs

{Two Days in Goa & Some Thoughts on Dogs Getting Second Chances}

I've been offline for the better part of the past week for good reason: real life usurped blog life. I've been clocking six hour bus rides between Jaipur and Delhi with a giant black duffel bag full of paintings, organizing last-minute logistics for art-related endeavors, flying across the country after multiple nights on less than four hours of sleep and stupidly, exhaustedly leaving my laptop in the airport security line (more on that later). But on the way to a conference P. and I were finally, marvelously, able to take a break from the madness and spend two days of R&R on the beaches of Goa. We stayed in a perfect palm grove beach shack in laid-back Patnem that a friend had highly recommended, where we ate our weight in fresh tomats and shredded basil with real balsamic vinegar, which was such a continental treat in the land of masala.  I gleefully ordered 3pm no-nonsence cocktails and plowed through Sarah MacDonald's bawdy, staggeringly un-PC love/hate affair with India, Holy Cow, which has been described as "condescending, narrow-minded, insulting and ethnocentric." Which is precisely why it was so entertaining.

But the best thing about Goa: beach dogs. There's a whole oligarchy of feral but well-fed, well-mannered beach dogs running the show in Patnem, and although the practice is forbidden in our house, P. and I happily fed scraps directly from the table and into the gentle, grateful maws of our new buddies. In return we were rewarded with their stately (if scruffy) company. Compared to your average street dog in India, these mutts have it made in the shade. For a pretty tough but hopeful story about a down-and-out doggy getting a second chance back in the US of A, read Beth's courageous post over at Six Orange Carrots. Having gone through some serious initial trials those first few months after adopting our spotted desert mutt, Dolly (who had been abused and was terrrified of men) I can say unequivicolly that watching her grow into the incredibly affectionate, gentle, intelligent copilot that she is now (and watching her bond with P. after he returned from his last combat tour) has been one of the biggest, purest joys of my adult life.

So there's that.

Hope you have a great weekend. The first leg of our show opens tonight, and my paintings are hung and my sari is ironed. But I can't help thinking that half a world away our motley pair of doggies are just bedding down in my parent's comfortable house, and how lucky they (and we) are indeed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Palette Inspiration

{Coral, Geranium, Pink}

That nail polish? Not just for nails. It's palette inspiration for the new paintings. Which is pink. Unabashedly, unapologetically pink.

This pink thing started with the ubiquitous blooming bougainvillea, which festoons the roadsides of Rajasthan in billowing clouds of electric coral and fuchsia.  Further inspired by the I-Love-the-80s-pink saris I seem to see everywhere in Jaipur this spring. And then there are the famous peony-pink walls of the very city itself. My visual vocabulary has never been so happily bombarded.

Hope you had a good weekend. I'm in Delhi delivering work and doing some last-minute framing with one of the other lassies in the show. More soon. (We are v. excited, muggles.)