Artist Bio & Statement


Tom Stanley is an artist currently living in Rock Hill, S.C.   Former chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Winthrop University, he was born in Fort Hood, Texas and grew up in Concord, N.C.  He received a M.A. in Applied Art History and a M.F.A. in Painting from the University of South Carolina in 1980.  He has served on the faculties of Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville, Ark. and Barry University in Miami, Fla. He was the director of the Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, N.C. and the first director of Winthrop University Galleries from 1990-2010. As a curator, Stanley's projects have included Worth Keeping: Found Artists of the Carolinas for the Columbia Museum of Art; New South Old South Somewhere In Between for Winthrop and the Levine Museum of the New South; Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists in collaboration with the South Carolina State Museum; the production of Remembering Ed (Lewandowski): The Last Precisionist in collaboration with SCETV; Portraits et Personages, co-curated with the late Geneviève Roulin, in collaboration with the Collection de l'art Brut; Edge to Edge, an exhibition that focused on the art of the 1960s for Bank of America's Charlotte and San Francisco galleries; and Two Worlds Outside: Nukain Mabusa and Joshua Samuel in collaboration with South by South Africa. 

In recent years his work has been exhibited at The George Gallery, Charleston; Hampton III Gallery, Greenville; if ART, Columbia; Fine Arts Center, Greenville; Artspace, Raleigh; and 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Columbia. His 2004 Floating series was exhibited at the South Carolina State Museum’s Triennial and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He has exhibited in Charlotte’s Gallery at Carillon; SECCA, Winston-Salem; La Galerie du Marché, Lausanne; Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte; Musée de la Halle Saint Pierre, Paris; the Halsey Gallery, Charleston; and gallery twenty-four, Berlin. His work was included in Abstract Art in South Carolina, 1949-2012 at the South Carolina State Museum, and Tom Stanley Glossary: Untitled Paintings at Gallery 80808 in Columbia.  A series titled Drawings Across the Sea was exhibited in 2016 at the University of Porto’s Casa-Museu Abel Salazar in Portugal. His most recent exhibition was Tom Stanley: Scratching the Surface at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art during Spoleto in Charleston, S.C.

Over the past few years Stanley has teamed with colleague-artist Shaun Cassidy on a number of projects including the exhibition Collaboration of Fragments at the Sumter Gallery of Art and public art commissions including Balancing Act in Simpsonville, S.C., for Provident Community Bank; Journey in Raleigh, N.C., for the North Carolina Local Government Federal Credit Union; and Five Installations for the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  In 2010 Cassidy and Stanley completed the 33-feet high stainless steel Winthrop Monolith and the concrete River’s Journey for the Hardin Family Garden at Winthrop University. In 2013 the team completed the sculpture Time Further Out for the Matthews, N.C. Sportsplex.  Stanley is currently completing the public art for Charlotte Area Transit’s Tom Hunter Station on North Tryon Street in Charlotte.


Balancing demands as an artist and academic arts administrator can take a toll.  This is especially difficult when many of the artists I admire never attended art school nor wrote an artist statement. When push comes to shove I suspect my work is about the work that goes into the work. I have used visual processes that inform the work including mechanical drawing, silhouette, and sgraffito.  I often work in series that have common denominators including size, limited color and imagery. Figures like houses, boats and triangles reappear. Acrylic on canvas or on paper is a typical medium.   I draw with paint rather than paint with paint.  At its best the work is a conversation between my hands and my eyes and something in between.