Ursula: a network of aesthetic experiences elicited through formal analysis of an evolving series of abstract sculpture studies; a three-dimensional narrative, one that is simultaneously a story about and a representation of a biological organism in space.
A few years ago I began working on a series of sculptural sketches of a physically and mentally disabled young woman. I was, and continue to be, interested in how the biological construction of a human body defines its experience in the world, and if a specific construction could possibly produce a truly modern person/experience. As my studies for this figure grew in number, they became more abstract, and began to develop into their own aesthetic language. Artistic studies hold value differently than finished works of art do. They share a purpose (the theoretical final work for which they are studies), and so are connected to one another through their similarities to this work, the moments that presage its ultimate composition, and through their differences from one another. The rhythmic communion of these similarities and differences is linguistic, and, over time, creates a kind of synaptic network of sensory experiences in the mind of the viewer. I call this network Ursula.
My hope is that the gradual strengthening of this network through the production of increasingly ambitious works of sculpture will make it impossible to define Ursula as anything other than a Narrative. This Narrative will be abstract. It will be non-linear. It will demand sensory and emotional responses rather than simply intellectual ones. And it will allow for structures far more sophisticated than traditional, time-based linear arcs. Using this system, a narrative can be built as an object, an action, a thought process or, as in the case of Ursula, a human body.
The studies exhibited on this website are both the language and the subject of Ursula.
Research and development of the elements of Ursula make up the majority of my single-work practice, and have for the last five years. In addition to a series of guest lectures on the theory behind Ursula, the first of which premiered at the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami in 2016, I hope to begin exhibiting combinations of these sculptures in order to invite critical discussion on their potential and the potential of their structuring idea.
Timothy Stanley (b. 1984) is a visual artist from New York, NY. He graduated with a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Columbia University. The primary focus of Stanley's artistic practice is the long-term sculpture project Ursula. He is also currently at work on his second novel, Maiastra: A History of Romanian Sculpture in Twenty-Four Parts by Dr. Igor Gyalakuthy, the chapters of which are published serially by art and culture magazine The Miami Rail. In addition to his art practice, Stanley is a professional art writer, sculpture fabricator and art handler, and lives and works in Paris, France.