Eric builds complex paper-cut artifacts using vector-based software and CNC lasers. Each layer is cut into paper with a CNC laser, then stacked into the completed artwork. The layers are conceived as “events” in the vein of key-framing to create a consciously woven space. Because of Eric’s labor intensive process his works take months and sometimes years to create. His compositions are determined by removing material from each sheet of paper, and pre-visualizing the sum of the layers as line, color and space. He does not use processing or algorithm-generated elements but instead draws each line with a conscious effort toward a holistic goal. Eric’s technology-infused studio practice enables him to create complex artifacts within a realm of precision of that is often reserved for industry, mass production and scientific research. “Technology circumscribes boundaries, as do artists. We are extended in body and mind by the advancements of what we envision and create.”
Statement on drawing
Drawing is at the core of my studio practice. Organizing objects in space begins on a 2D plane in my sketch books, and is further elaborated on as vectors in CorelDraw. My compositions are realized all at once as a series of visual events, putting me in a near fanatical condition of impatient urgency. At this point in my drawing practice I am at a crossroads between my conscious sensibility and the careful preservation of the visual archetype that is trying to emerge. After I have the events hand-drawn for a composition, I begin transposing the sketches into digital drawings. I do not use processing or algorithm-generated elements between events, but instead project my sensibility in each detail. Between events are areas of improvisation. At their edges are conscious junctures of detailed accumulation and holistic awareness; the crucial intersections of calculation and sensibility.
Paradox of faith
I like the thought that faith itself is a unifying bond across humanity. Within each individualized need to believe, there is intrinsic commonality. Maybe this commonalty can be expressed visually as archetypes that transcend our differences, and unite us by way of human familiarity. I find archetypical patterns in mythologies across cultures, in the rituals of faith in religions, and in the geometry of artifacts that we have chosen to hold sacred. They are found in the four forces of nature. They are found in the theories of DNA packing, and in the self-similar replication of fractals. The utopian dreams of modernism were reckless by excluding the complexities human familiarity. The strongest bonding force in humanity is the unified recognition of our own fragility.
Eric Standley (b. 1968) is an Associate Professor of Studio Art at Virginia Tech. He received his B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and his M.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has exhibited in over ninety museums and galleries around the world. His artworks are a part of the permanent collections of the Palace of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, the Scherenschnittmuseum, Vreden, Germany, and The Zupi Collection, São Paulo, Brazil.
Eric is represented by Victori + Mo Contemporary of New York City, the Marta Hewett Gallery of Cincinnati, OH and Media Force of Tokyo Japan. He has been featured on the Discovery Channel of Canada, Luxe TV, Luxembourg and Mezamashi National TV of Japan. Eric lives and works in Blacksburg, VA.