Whitehot Magazine

Whitehot Recommends: Robert Standish's Floriography at Martin Lawrence Gallery

“Night Bloom” (30” diameter), Acrylic on canvas, 2023

By WM May 12, 2024 

From the press release:

Los Angeles-based abstract painter Robert Standish’s work has been called “transcendent expressionism.” His solo exhibition “Floriography” opens Friday, May 24 at Martin Lawrence Gallery in New York City’sSoho neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. There is an artist’s reception opening day 6-8PM, Standish will be in attendance. The show runs through June 16.  For a week leading up to the show, the gallery will have an electronic ad for “Floriography” running in Times Square for 15-seconds every hour. 

Standish says that the floral paintings happened organically, as he was spontaneously making free-flowing gestures on the canvas. “From their  first appearance, I decided to continue exploring’” he says.  In the first painting of the series, I added stems to the flowers, but subsequently, the compositions were made up of stemless flowers to suggest a floating quality. The florals expand upon the transcendence theme in my evolving rhythmic style.   

The artist says his practice is indeed about transcendence –  he is drawn to the light, and always aspires to bring the energy up as he creates his original artworks. In our highly polarized times, he hopes to offer viewers a way to be transported to an authentic place of positivity, a higher plane of experience.  Using both brushes and palette knives, he always applies thick swaths of paint – mark-making that is as gestural and moving as it is  boldly textural. Through these radiant paintings, he explores and affirms the uplifting emotive effects of bright color, bold gesture, and visceral surface terrain.  

Formerly a renowned photorealist painter, Standish became inspired by the spontaneity of Abstract Expressionism, the meditative nature of Abstract Spiritualism, and the nuances and power of Color Field painting.  He followed the urge to go for something looser in his work, and has focused on abstraction ever since, saying, “Fifteen years ago, a feeling overwhelmed me to paint differently from the ego driven and deliberate style of my photorealism paintings. My abstract paintings are motivated by and focused on energetically uplifting and spontaneous compositions, featuring random rhythmic color bursts, abundant paint, and most importantly, a request for divine guidance.”  

There are no finite borders or endings in his works as each stroke and mark bleeds into another in an unbroken chain that seems to extend far beyond any conceivable edge of the canvas. Each painting’s many layers appear as beautiful and interconnected as anything found in nature that came into existence partly according to a predetermined structure (such as DNA), and by way of unpredictable occasions of pure chance and the action of outside forces. Standish taps into a universal and organic language as his traces begin to take on the shape of fractal patterns, earth frequencies and topographies, and biorhythmic waves. As he once manipulated the material world into hyper-reality, he now transforms the natural order into the abstract infinite. 

Regarding his overall practice, as he continually quests for greater engagement with the cosmos and the unconscious unknown, Standish says, “I’m in awe of the creative force all around us. I can’t think of anything that’s so strikingly omnipresent. Painting for me is the opportunity to deeply enjoy and directly connect with that force and hopefully inspire others of the rewards of channeling its power and beauty.” 

He is represented by Martin Lawrence Galleries, which has eight locations nationwide: New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans, San Francisco, Costa Mesa, La Jolla, Maui.  He currently has a solo show at the La Jolla gallery, running through May 20.

Standish’s works can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, JP MORGAN CHASE, Weisman Foundation, Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH), Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Crocker Art Museum, Louis K. Meisel, Larry and Marilyn Fields, Patricia Arquette, Norwest Venture Partners, and BRYANT/ STIBEL, along with numerous other notable collections. Standish holds a degree in Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles.  It was during his studying there that he turned seriously to painting. Standish lives and works in Los Angeles, where he was born and raised. WM 


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