Stanley’s unique drawings have been described, appropriately, as; menacing and mischievous, serenely melancholic, sexual, dark and sinister, but playful and humorous.
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. 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 preoccupatied with the absurdity of existance, both mentally and physically.
In a series of drawings, collectively titled, ’Nests’, he weaves a mass network of branch or capillary-like structures with tangled ladders. Just like his use of dark puddles, these stark, black, networks create unknown, menacing, depth. They become sinister traps as much as they represent, by title, somewhere homely and secure. Whilst one imagines what hides in the depths, the images morph into insect-like creatures. Stanley’s inspiration for these ‘Nests’ are inspired by the multitude of crows nests adorning trees along the cross-country running routes he takes along the undulating landscape of Bedfordshire. After decades living in London, he often imagines these nests as tightly packed networks of interconnecting dwellings that reflect the mass urban networks of the city.