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.