Stanley’s drawings have been described, appropriately, as: menacing and mischievous, serenely melancholic, sexual, dark and sinister, but playful and humorous.
‘I am driven by, or tormented by, life-long struggles with cyclothymia. 5 syllables, generous! It has a name, a title, most things do, so we can identify it, so you can learn to either fear it, love or hate it. I apply all three to my torment. Flipping from hypomania to depths where the dark engulfs me. But, oddly, I am content in both, when I am there! On a plateau, somewhere in between, this is when I reflect upon the extremes. From socially awkward to manic entertainer, my polaric friends can be quite exhausting, for those too close, also.
My inner world is projected honestly and directly in my work: my ideas, images and application of chosen media. Welcome to the ‘Absurdity of Sanity’, oddity of ‘Viscerality’ and the ‘Nests’ where I reside.’
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. The 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. Allegory plays a serious role, as does the absurdity of the human psyche.
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. A recent development of these drawings produces a more organic feel, creature-like forms emerging from the twisted mass – enhanced more by the spin-off series now titled, ‘Monsters’. But even under this new rubric of ‘Monster’, there’s still a playful, almost jokey, lure into the darkness.
Stanley Greening 2018