David Stanton’s Level One Opening

David Stanton’s Level One Opening

(Crystal A. Proxmire, The Ferndale 115 News, 01/15/2012)

“The mind is wired with the predisposition to create reflections of itself.  To express and reexamine itself time and time again.  The act of painting, it seems, was invented to satisfy symbolically the desires of the collective unconscious.” That’s what Ferndale-based artist David Stanton had to say about the process behind his work.

The 47-year-old artist has a home studio on W. Lewiston and has had his work at Lawrence Street Gallery and State of the Art.  And now he is the featured artist at the Level One Gallery inside Level One Bank (22635 Woodward).  His show opened on Jan. 13, 2012 with a reception that included the opportunity to talk with the artist and enjoy wine and snacks while mingling with other admirers of art.

Stanton’s work is bright and seems simple at first glance.  Only after looking at the work, and the colors and expressions that make it up, does one realize its complexity.  For example, The Gates of Dawn was what Stanton calls “a subconscious reaction to seeing stone stacking.  It’s an old Onikusu tradition where they’d stand rocks up as a way to mark the land.”  The rocks in the painting are stacked on water, which is a common theme in his work. And while the dashes and dots look like traditionally-portrayed native markings, they also make up faces.  Curiosity, hope and pensiveness peek out from the carefully balanced stone stacks, as if they don’t know themselves if the structure is going to hold them up or not.

But more likely anyone who looks at the work will come up with their own interpretation.  That’s what makes Stanton’s painting so engaging.  They aren’t just windows into his own soul, they’re invitations for the viewer to open up their own and maybe let their inner child come out and play for a bit.

“I am most interested in this primal behavior, the ability to be in-touch with a fundamental archetype of expression,” said Stanton in his online bio.  “Regardless of the form my work takes, the foundation is a psychological one – a purely unreasonable motivation to paint – free of a calculated process or predetermined conclusions.”

Stanton was constant smiles and blushes as he greeted guests for the opening and listened to three hours straight of gushing praise.  “The ability to show your work, people think it’s a highlight, and it is wonderful, but I’m a painter, so I’m a really more private person,” he said.

So what is it that has kept the artist working and coming out to share his work?  “Tenacity,” he said.  “Well, maybe not so much tenacity as tradition.  It sounds cliche to say, but I was born to do this.  Come hell or high water this is what I am supposed to do.”

Looking around at the people happily enjoying his work, he added “I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.”

The exhibit “David Stanton: Selected Works” will be on display at Level One through February 20, 2012.  Learn more about Stanton and his paintings at www.davidstanton.net.

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