Ursula: a network of aesthetic experiences elicited through analysis of a series of abstract sculptural studies; a three-dimensional narrative, one that is simultaneously a story about and a representation of a biological organism in space.
Ursula began as a series of sculptural sketches of a physically 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 whether a specific construction could produce a truly modern person or experience. As my studies for this figure grew in number, they became more abstract. Artistic studies hold value differently than finished works do. They share a purpose (the theoretical final work they anticipate), and so are connected to one another through their similarities to this final work and through their differences from one another. The rhythmic back and forth of these similarities and differences is linguistic, and, over time, creates a kind of synaptic network of sensory experiences. 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 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 development of Ursula is the sole focus of my artistic practice, and is entering its fifth year.
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 sculpture fabricator and art handler, and lives and works in Paris, France.