Night Gallery is pleased to present The Absolute Trick, an exhibition of new paintings by Elaine Stocki. This is her first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Using watercolor, linen, and canvas, Elaine Stocki explores abstraction through a magpie-like approach that absorbs the traditions of Color Field, Abstract Expressionism and Assemblage. Creating a process and style that are uniquely her own, the resulting paintings explore the tension between delicate and roughly hewn, fluid and structured. Pushing her materials to their maximum potential, the paintings in this exhibition exude an emotional energy that is wedded to the form, color and materials of the process. Named after a phrase from a 1972 poem by Agnes Martin, the works in The Absolute Trick take part in a tradition of intuitive formal expression.
Stocki begins each painting by creating a pattern that designates canvas and linen portions. Stitching the fiber together, she then uses the seams as formal starting points, flooding them with paint that acts as a sort of Rorschach test for the paint pigment. The piece is flipped over, disassembled and re-stretched with scraps of former paintings that have been washed, bleached, and given new life. Watercolor is built up to the point of saturation with the raw fiber below, bleeding out when the canvas can take no more. Alternately it is applied as a light stain with delicate water marks leaving a residue on the bare linen.
Color is a driving force in Stocki's process, functioning as both a formal and alchemical tool, as each pigment has its own unique atomic makeup. In combining watercolor with raw canvas, Stocki creates something permanent and irreversible: the pigment does not sit on top of the surface but rather becomes a part of the fiber. By applying paint fluidly, her brushstrokes all but disappear, leaving the viewer no trace of labor or time, only the materials in their absolute form.
Elaine Stocki (b. Winnipeg, Canada) holds degrees in both Chemistry and Fine Art and an MFA from Yale University. She has exhibited work at the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France; Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany; The Art Gallery of Ontario and others. Her work has been featured in international publications including The New Yorker and Border Crossings Magazine. In 2019 her first monograph was published by SKIRA Paris. Her work is included in the collection of The Philadelphia Art Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She lives and works in Los Angeles.