Artist Bio & Statement
I am a visual artist living in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Born in Fort Hood, Texas, I grew up in Concord, North Carolina. After earning an MA in Applied Art History and an MFA in Painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980, I served on the faculties of Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville, Arkansas and Barry University in Miami, Florida. In 1985 I returned to North Carolina to direct the Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury. I became the first director of Winthrop University Galleries in Rock Hill in 1990. From 2007 to 2017 I served as chair of Winthrop’s Department of Fine Arts. I continue to create my own work, curate, and engage in collaborative public art projects.
I have an abiding curatorial interest in the work of self-taught artists, from my first exhibition Worth Keeping: Found Artists of the Carolinas (1980) to New South Old South Somewhere In Between for Winthrop (1995) and the Levine Museum of the New South (2003). Currently I am researching and cataloging the work of self-taught South Carolina artist Gene Merritt (1936-2015) who exhibited at the Collection de l’Art Brut in 1998 and has received international attention for the singular visual voice of his methodical yet intuitive drawing.
As an artist, I typically work in series with limitations of size, color and imagery. I use recurring shapes such as triangles and figurative elements of houses and boats. Typical media are acrylic on canvas and on paper. Although I use common graphic strategies like mechanical drawing, silhouette, and sgraffito, the process is about making something I have never seen before. The work is a conversation between my hands and my eyes. I draw with paint rather than paint with paint.
The 2017 exhibition Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art featured my work from 2004 to the present, emphasizing its serial nature and reliance upon drawing techniques.
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