ARTSY Featured Show of the Week: ROBERT STANDISH “Chaos and Control” – An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition



Chaos and Control

July 23, 2020 – November 8, 2020

An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition


In Standish’s latest series, given the moniker Anti-Sporadic, combines oil and acrylic paints, the latter substance laid down first and the former last. In fact, the basis for each composition is a pour of acrylic onto the canvas. Standish enhances the resulting impasto with a highly gestural application of palette knives. The resulting topography is then modified with oil-based pigments, applied with brushes, so that the often volcanic-seeming features of the acrylic pour are amplified into patterns and visual structures. This is no mere exercise in decorating high-profile surfaces: Standish intervenes deeply into the acrylic with the oils, coaxing bursts of color and swaths of texture out of the superficial and into the visible. 


Standish may seem to leave certain Anti-Sporadic works – smaller ones in particular – free of his “oil intervention.” But that is an illusion right there; his hand has indeed intervened, however invisibly. Standish has “touched up” these weighty monochromatic froths with the same carefully applied enhancement he’s visited upon more extravagantly colored canvases, only here, the goal has been to bring forth shadows rather than rainbows. 

Standish had already been working in a non-objective idiom for several years when he developed the techniques that led to the Anti-Sporadic series. As so many painters discover, the pleasures and mysteries of smearing substances on surfaces reveal themselves not only during the process of painting, but afterwards as well – and in many more different and unanticipated ways. Indeed, this is what makes abstract art appealing to its audience as well as to its practitioners. Standish avers that he began thinking abstractly even while painting recognizable images. (Notably, while painting streetlights at night, he became fascinated by the effects of light on the camera he was trying to emulate; from there, he became engaged with the effects of light on the human eye itself).

The Anti-Sporadic paintings constitute a realm of experimentation for an accomplished and yet restless artist. Each painting is a new, and arguably unanticipated, experience for him. But they are for us, too. And that’s where these paintings truly succeed: they commute that sense of experimentation, of unpredictability, to those who behold them.

Robert Standish is an American painter living and working in Los Angeles whose organic process reveals the emotive effects of color, shape, and texture. Inspired by the color-field painters Abstract Expressionism, and Abstract Spritualism, Standish’s free-flowing use of paint is his way of exploring abstraction, composition and transcendence. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, JP MORGAN CHASE, The Weisman Foundation, Louis K. Meisel, Larry and Marilyn Fields, Patricia Arquette, Norwest Venture Partners, and BRYANT/ STIBEL, along with numerous other acclaimed collections. Standish’s paintings have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums, including group shows at the Carnegie Art Museum, Frederick R Weisman Museum of Art and solo show at the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster.

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