M. Louise Stanley
Artist’s Statement M. Louise Stanley
My work follows in the tradition of history and narrative painting documenting current and fictitious events using myth and allegory. The human condition, modern day romance and political issues are often explored. Voyeurism, a longing to ‘be someplace else’, and a sense of places and events remembered are recurring themes. Humor is the catalyst and a bridge to the darker, more troubling side. In my youth I wanted to make paintings people would gag and cry in front of until I saw two women doubled-up laughing in front of my work. At an opening years ago a woman came up to me, drink in hand, and said, “these are not funny paintings, they remind me of junior high when I was miserable.” Then she dropped her glass at my feet and ran out of the gallery. Over the years I have observed that depending on who the viewer is, the same painting will elicit completely opposite reactions. At an opening at PS1 in New York, years ago, Joyce Kosloff said, “God, lulu, your work is so American!” I strive for that precarious line between the downright silly and the sublime, perhaps in order to sabotage both extremes, but more often just to see if I can pull it off.
Recent paintings are based on research gathered during the annual ‘Art Lover’s Tours’ I organize and lead to Europe and an interest in the transformation myths of Ovid, sainthood, the ills of organized religion and current events. I keep an ongoing series of sketchbooks full of gouache and gold leaf studies after the ‘old masters’. Standing in front of the actual painting, tracing the steps an artist has traveled, is my way of owning the painting, taking it home and the closest thing to having a conversation with a dead artist.
- Anatomy Lesson, acrylic/c 72” X 96” , M. Louise Stanley, ©200