For twenty years, Los Angeles painter Robert Standish had been abstracting reality by altering his own powerful and moving photorealistic paintings of daily life. Seven years ago, Standish shifted away from constructing lifelike replicas of the world, and into an investigation of the unconscious unknown through abstraction. His move into an Abstract Expressionist "wet-on-wet" technique developed in tandem with his interests in cosmology and topography, in addition to psychological theory – namely, Dr. Carl Jung's notion and analysis of the human psyche.
In his recent work Standish revisits the essential element of his early style of photorealistic painting, namely, a photo reference, but through his more recent lens of abstraction. Fed up with biased news reporting, Standish sources his imagery from top U.S. and world news stories; often selecting photos from the Internet and various social media platforms associated with polarizing content. By unifying his disparate techniques, he gradually manipulates the palette and texture of the original image to change the representation of its featured subject – and subsequently, the viewer's interpretation of it. Transcendence being a consistent theme of his practice, Standish's newest work is true to his rejection of the finite, and his proclivity for the universal.
An interview with Voyage LA (April 23, 2018) quotes Standish as saying this about his artwork:
“I paint mostly abstracts and occasionally return to photorealism. I’m in awe of the creative force all around us. Can’t think of anything that’s so strikingly omnipresent. Every square inch of our physical universe and all existing life forms contain the elements of shape, texture, pattern, color palette and all of it comes from a process of creation. Painting for me is the opportunity to deeply enjoy and directly connect with that force and hopefully inspire others of the rewards of connecting to its power and beauty.”
Standish's works can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, JP MORGAN CHASE, The Weisman Foundation, the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, 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 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, a duo show with Sam Francis at Martin Lawrence Gallery, and a solo show at the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster. Standish has also discussed his art practice and career in a lecture at Laguna Art Museum.