Verne Stanford

Verne Stanford, who has been producing visual art for over 40 years, has seen his work exhibited as far afield as Europe and Latin America, not to mention 18 of the United States. His art draws inspiration from visual artists Kendall Shaw and Jan Dibbits, as well as William Blake, and, in particular, E.E. Cummings. 

Much like Cummings’s use of deconstructed syntax, Stanford’s art works appear simultaneously disjointed but harmonious; he accumulates photographs, maps, stones, and other curious relics and disassembles all unifying principals by reformulating what is at hand. In this action, he reassembles the past to accurately reflect how he has stored, ordered, and perceived the collections of his life.

More importantly, Stanford’s work draws also from cummings’s concept of the “enormous room.” During War World I, cummings spent months imprisoned in a gigantic room shared with many other prisoners at La Ferté-Macé in France. After his release, he wrote a memoir about that time in which he likened that enormous room to his mind, a mind that had trapped and stored the characters and the memories. Likewise, Stanford’s pieces are projections of his enormous room, representations of how he chooses to remember each event of his past. His art works strike both an individual and universal chord because, whereas we all carry around an enormous room of our memories, each of us will remember the same event in a singular way.

That being said, Stanford is exceedingly generous regarding the viewer’s interpretations and believes that “artwork really needs to stand on its own. Perhaps a title, a statement, or a review might serve as a hint, as some sort of shortcut to understanding, to gaining just a little insight into what an artist might have had in mind, what they intended, but the work, whether it’s a painting, a novel, a dance, a symphony, or a poem must be whole unto itself.”

Stanford serves as a consultant to art galleries, artists, and arts organizations, and he accepts approximately three curatorial or jurying positions each year. Stanford has studied art at Newport Harbor Union High School, The University of Oregon (B.S. and M.F.A. degrees), The Royal College of Art (London), the Leicester College of Art and Design, and The Penland School.

He has received The Oregon Achiever Award from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts for “exemplary achievement and contribution to the public for distinguished alumni,” and also the American Crafts Council’s Gold Medal for The Penland School’s contribution to the American Crafts movement.