Lillian Bayley Hoover: Hitched to Everything Else
At the Musuem of Contemporary Art Arlington
On View: January 20 - March 17, 2024
Recption: January 20, 2024, 5:00-8:00 pm
In Hitched to Everything Else, Lillian Bayley Hoover depicts spaces where human infrastructure interrupts or collides with the natural environment. The artist highlights and challenges humans’ conflicted relationship to nature, or, as she explains it, all the ways “we are of nature but proceed as if we are apart from it.” Hoover’s complex landscapes invite viewers to confront this untenable approach, pointing to the threat it poses both to our own existence and to the natural world we treat as if it is distinct from human life.
The paintings in Hitched to Everything Else are shaped by absence and concealment. Sections of the scenes are covered over, removed, or otherwise obscured, creating rifts and layers. This technique reflects Hoover’s interest in the dynamic nature of our attention to the landscape and the ways that attention is mediated by everyday activity, infrastructure, personal experience, and even the genre of landscape painting itself. Hoover challenges viewers to navigate this visual complexity rather than becoming absorbed in a single, uninterrupted scene, as they might expect from conventional depictions of the landscape.
The exhibition’s title is borrowed from My First Summer in the Sierra by naturalist John Muir. Writing about his two years living in Yosemite, Muir observed: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” Hoover’s use of Muir’s quote reflects the artist’s own interest in time–the relatively short time of human generations and the deep time of the earth’s environment. As Hoover explains, landscape is both “an active living participant in the events of our time, as well as a record of time itself.” The rifts, layers, varied styles, and shifting perspectives in Hoover’s work invite us to consider the landscape as a growing, changing amalgamation of living beings and systems, rather than simply a static background to human existence. They also point to the dire consequences of failing to consider the environment, and our own role within it, in its full complexity.
Lillian Bayley Hoover: HItched to Everything Else takes place as part of MoCA Arlington’s SOLOS 23-24, a series of solo exhibitions by artists based in the Mid-Atlantic taking place at the Museum throughout 2023 and 2024. The exhibitions were selected from an open call by a jury that included artist Nekisha Durrett, Betsy Johnson, assistant curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Jova Lynne, director, Temple Contemporary, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University.
Lillian Bayley Hoover (b. 1980, Raleigh, NC) Lives and works in Baltimore, MD. Her work is represented in private and public collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro, NC), and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Grant, the Bethesda Urban Partnership’s Trawick Award, multiple grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, and fellowships/residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Monson Arts Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been featured on the cover of New American Paintings publication. She has had solo exhibitions at Goya Contemporary (Baltimore, MD), BlackRock Center for the Arts (Germantown, MD), and VisArts (Rockville, MD), among other venues. Hoover holds an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA from University of North Carolina Asheville. She teaches at Towson University.