Figureworks is pleased to present the erotic work of pop-artist Bob Stanley from a series he executed in the late 1960’s. This exhibition includes Bianchini Gallery’s complete 1966 silkscreen portfolio. Original ink drawings for this series are also generously included through the Stanley estate.
The series originated from a pack of pornographic playing cards. Stanley selected various images that would reproduce well in two colors, starting with black ink drawings on white board. For the silkscreen process, he defined his work by limiting each piece to two punched-up colors, such as purple and red or orange and green. Solid blocks of color expose each figure while the opposing color supports details or the grounds in which they are placed. By cleverly using this technique to abstract his subjects, the sexually explicit nature of the work is much more inviting than confrontational.
Bold in color and graphic in nature, this work embodies the sexual freedom of the 1960’s.
Published in the New York Times shortly after his death on November 21, 1997, Roberta Smith commemorated the life of this artist:
Mr. Stanley was born in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1932. After attending Columbia University for two years, he received a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 1953 from Oglethorpe College in Atlanta and studied art at the High Museum of Art there. Back in New York, he first worked in collage. In the early 1960’s, he began to base his paintings on images clipped from newspapers and magazines, following the example of Pop artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, who would become his brother-in-law.
Enlarged and often rendered in two equally saturated colors (red and green, for example), Mr. Stanley’s images could border on the abstract or be powerfully explicit. His preferred subjects, including rock stars, sporting events and pornography, always seemed to grate against the pretenses of high art. In the late 1960’s Mr. Stanley started using his own photographs, basing paintings on images of tree branches or the ground, and also using pictures of life-drawing models at the School of Visual Arts, where he was a faculty member for 16 years.
Mr. Stanley had his first solo show at Paul Bianchini in 1965 and thereafter exhibited regularly in New York City and Europe. His most recent exhibition, held last month at the Mitchell Algus Gallery in Manhattan, completed its run the day he died. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan; the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and the Milwaukee Art Museum.