Stanley’s unique drawings have been described, appropriately, as: menacing and mischievous, serenely melancholic, sexual, dark and sinister, but playful and humorous.
Stanley’s technique is both aggressive and delicate in execution. The multi-layering of oil pastel and pencil creates depth and attempts to emulate the marks and surfaces achieved in materials like paint, clay or plaster. The images often take on a biomorphic quality as scratches reference marked time and inevitable scarring of the epidermal layer.
When three dimensions become two, references to scale often become ambiguous. A background might become a backdrop when objects cast vertical shadows upon it. The images suddenly seem more like dioramas, scenes waiting for further content or long forgotten stage sets. Narrative is, essentially and deliberately, misleading and meaning is embedded as much in the objects and scenes as in the execution of the work. Stanley seems preoccupied with the absurdity of existence, both mentally and physically.
Water, or fluid, is one of the recurring elements in Stanley’s work, appearing as puddles, ponds or streams. This ‘water’ is always depicted dark and the scratched, reflective, surfaces do not reveal the true depth or what may be lurking beneath. Stanley, on many levels, is a tease, often hiding an alternative narrative in plain sight.
In a series of drawings, collectively titled, ’Nests’, Stanley weaves a mass network of branch or capillary like structures with tangled ladders. These stark, black, networks create unknown, menacing, depth. They become sinister traps as much as they represent, by title, somewhere homely and secure.
Stanley Greening 2018