Robert Stanley

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1992-2000: "Spaces"
Study: Skid Marks oil on board 10"x 8"

This small oil was used in a painting, Van Gogh, I Know, and a computer piece, Bracketed. It captures an ambiguous moment: driving along towards a threatening sky, while skid marks appear immediately ahead. Both the event and the feeling really happened.
In the painting, Van Gogh, I Know, the threatening sky originally painted in Study: Skid Marks, takes on the coloring of some Van Gogh paintings. There is also a hint of his Wheat field with Crows, painted just before his suicide. His dark experiences, amid the beauty of the world around him and the beauty of his own paint, are honored in this work.

"Flotsam" Watercolor 12" x 9"

This small painting continues the themes of mysteriously connected separate objects and the contrast between real and illusory worlds. The artist's role as observer is suggested by the silhouette in the lower right. The branches and driftwood, an inpromptu sculpture created on a beach, were painted from life. The drip on the left side is just as real as the branches.

"Dispositions" Acrylic 48" x 60"

A title with a double-meaning enables Stanley to move between conceptions of representation. The shadows on the standing stick forms cause viewers to interpret the field of the painting as having great unmodulated depth, yet the self-evidence of the paint handling reasserts the vertical two-dimensionality of the picture plane. The expressionist aspects of the picture give rise to the interpretation of the title Dispositions as referring to moods, while the perspectival illusions Stanley employs seem to establish Dispositions as referring to placements, with the linear elements arranged or disposed in carefully chosen places. The fragile forms standing in the empty landscape of the piece contribute to a feeling of bleakness, reminding one of a desert to where one could conceivably be banished or in which one could be crucified on the lone skeletal cross. The hopeless tone, the sad mood that is conveyed in this painting testifies to feeling that can be summoned up in the viewer by the artist's skillful placement of simple forms.

Gregg Hertzlieb Curator/Director The Brauer Museum, Valparaiso University