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Lily is a Southern expressionist whose primary focus is painting and ceramics. Raised in Appalachia, the culture and people are integral to Formato’s art-making narrative. The opioid crisis severely impacted Lily’s community. Amidst the rugged mountains, the despair was palpable. Artists such as Alice Neel and Jenna Gribbon influenced Lily to create portraits that depict tender stories of her community and inner expression. “ A portrait of Robby” haunts the wall and towers over the viewer like a titanic force - he tells you what you need to know about himself. His addiction, his gayness, the longing to leave Wytheville, a family too far gone to be saved from drugs and mental illness. Impasto paint is applied throughout the face, and loosely drawn hands that delicately sit on his thighs. A self-described voyeurist, Lily enjoys discovering slice-of-life moments played out before her. Overhearing conversations, people-watching at the park, and long walks flesh out her world to paint. Visual communication is Lily’s language of understanding her body. If she isn’t painting others or things - she focuses on herself. Questioning her place as a young woman in her community. These are answered by twisted self-portraits of her own body, partially rendered and abstracted. Her advanced color and oil paint skills produce vibrant depictions of the female identity.

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