There were giants in the earth in those days a cryptic passage in Genesis that hints at the interbreeding between humans and angels – kick starts Stanley¹s figurative journey that weaves humanity into myth. Exploring the myriad meanings and motives of this phrase, Stanley takes a broader exegetic stance, using this line to open a door to a time where anything was possible. It was a time when man was so young, and his understanding of good and evil so nascent, that there was an explosive and inspiring sense of innocence.
Through large-scale canvases and delicate watercolors, Stanley casts present day man in this context, creating provocative parallels that cut to the nature of morality. In Two Figures, Stanley creates an uneasy tension between two young men and the viewer: one in full, heroic, battle regalia (a self-portrait of the artist) – the other in casual civilian attire, capturing a moment of ambivalent calm before the storm. Stanley¹s subjects are typically attired and accessorized in a historically dualistic manner: ranging from the primitive to the paramilitary, tribal masks to gas masks.
As though blurring the distinction between his modern subjects and a biblical setting, Stanley’s paintings appear to belong to no particular place in time, each form firmly rooted in the flesh. With himself, family members, and others close to him as his focus, Stanley¹s explorative journey leads the viewer through a succession of pleading, witnessing, and unveiling gazes. As the poet Kirsten Andersen said of his work:
The collected images in this body of work are people and objects in motion, people still engaged in the life process, still breathing the vitality of breath, but not without making adaptations… The portraits could be mirrors the subject staring back at its reflection, in search of itself.
In the project space, Stanley takes on a more playful approach, with a series of watercolors that allow him to concentrate on specific objects. Cars, guns and other items seen in stark isolation, take on the air of artifacts, picking up on the modern/mythic qualities found in his paintings. These narrative fragments feel like references to a previous era, providing an historical take on Stanley’s painted epics and cloaking the pieces in mystery.