Intimate Distance: The Modernism of Schuyler Standish

March 13 - June 12, 2010

The Riverside Art Museum (RAM) announces the opening of Intimate Distance:  The Modernism of Schuyler Standish, an exhibition by painter Schuyler Standish, curated by  Peter Frank.

Los Angeles native Schuyler Standish has been an artist for nearly all of his 83 years, but  a visual artist for only about the last 60. Standish, who now lives in Tujunga, was an  accomplished professional musician by the age of 13, at which age he entered UCLA. He was  also an accomplished Hollywood actor having appeared in everything from a Ruby Keeler-Dick  Powell dance movie to Wuthering Heights and Blood and Sand. It was only after the Second  World War that he picked up a brush and never looked back. 

Standish, who taught art at the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in the 1970s, ‘80s, and  ‘90s, is an unabashed modernist in a post-modernist age. Best known for his landscapes,  Standish is also adept at abstraction and figuration; but in all genres he betrays a loyalty  to the principles of dynamic form, luminous color, and transformative imagery that motivated  the giants of modern art from Monet to De Kooning. 

Standish’s landscapes, acknowledging the plein-air tradition, clearly recapitulate the  lessons of Paul Cézanne. Standish painted in the Hollywood Hills and Highland Park,  rendering the houses and streets nestled on the verdant mountainsides as Cézanne might have.  At the same time, Standish depicts space with dramatic recessional structures reminiscent of  the Bay Area Figurative painters.

As a figurative painter and draftsman himself, Standish’s abstractions reveal a wide  familiarity with modernist examples such as Picasso’s Cubism, Dali’s and Tanguy’s  Surrealism, the Bauhaus figuration of Klee, and the American approaches of Diebenkorn and  Guston. However, his work goes beyond even these well-known examples to more widely embrace  the entire modernist canon, from Futurism and Dada to Constructivism and Hard-edge painting. 

As such, they may constitute his most distinctive achievement, showing him to be a master of  texture, tone, and line with the ability to elaborate upon the simplest of arrangements and  to elucidate the most complex compositions with a self-possessed forthrightness.