Robert Stanley

Back to Artworks Timeline
2001-Now: "Meanders"
"Random Real" Acrylic 36" x 48"

The previous (open-spaced) style of painting was running out of gas. When I would start a painting in the old style, it did not create joy in its making. Trying new ventures, building on randomness, I let flowing, unplanned brush strokes form the main field, from which objects I had sketched from life emerged. These early pieces were somewhat clunky, I think.

"Seeing" Acrylic 36" x 48"

One painting that well exemplifies Stanley's multifaceted, multi-leveled endeavors is Seeing. This acrylic painting with collage shows a running bull and a flying bird, definitely things that the artist or any person either has seen before or can see during the course of daily life. In addition, by juxtaposing these recognizable forms among non-referential marks and areas of tonal variety and gesture, Stanley seems to refer to artistic seeing, in which the artist internalizes subjects, internalizes his activity to get closer to an intensely personal understanding of some sort of fundamental or essential nature. Seeing can be a sensory activity, but it can also be a form of feeling that gives rise to the impulse to create. The use of collage further speaks to the many aspects that the notion of seeing can take because pictorial components are removed from one often prosaic context and placed into another that takes advantage of the collaged item's perceived metaphorical value. The artist sees the collaged materials (in the sense of visual perception), but he also “sees” the materials (in the sense of a mysterious inner appreciation) and integrates the materials into his work, thereby challenging the viewer to reconcile old and new contexts. A collaged item originating from the artist's own body of work further adds complexity to the mix, leading one to puzzle over how a picture can be both a picture and part of a picture simultaneously. The paradox literally lies in the artist layering images and layering executed thoughts to assemble a greater work that draws together past expressions into a continuous present.

Gregg Hertzlieb Curator/Director The Brauer Museum, Valparaiso University