Ojai-based painter Stanley Boydston specializes in painting Rincon Point in his own unique and colorful way, and come October he will bring his depictions of the famous surf spot to the world stage of art at the Biennale of Contemporary Sacred Art in Monte Carlo. A month-long series of art exhibitions, conferences, and workshops dedicated to examining how artists respond “to some of the major challenges that life represents, how they register change, and how they imagine the future,” according to its website, the biennial will feature 300 works by 200 artists from around the world.
Those included in the exhibition include renowned British artist Damien Hirst, and others whose works sell for millions of dollars. While speaking to the News-Press on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Boydston said he feels honored that his painting “Creation/Emergence” will be showcased alongside such esteemed company.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to hang my art next to theirs,” he said.
Consisting of one large painting of Rincon’s ocean waves inside geometric masses of solid colors on the left, and nine smaller, similar, yet distinct images on the right, “Creation/Emergence” depicts the 2019 biennial’s theme of “life” through the mother-infant relationship between the larger image, the mother, and smaller images, the infant throughout the nine months it is carried by the mother
Mr. Boydston described this on his instagram account, “We are 75% water as infants: A mother on the left and one child: A mother who is at the very beginning of conception and wondering about the impending evolution of her life and envisioning her baby’s evolution over the next nine months, existing as one yet distinct.”
For the past year, Mr. Boydston has produced a series of surf paintings called “Rincon, Low Tide,” for which he said “Creation/Emergence” serves as something of a culmination. He became fascinated by Rincon Point after taking photographs at the surf spot, looking from the beach out toward the Channel Islands. When he noticed that a straight, balanced photograph from this perspective resulted in a tilted horizon line because of how the waves appeared, this peculiarity stuck with him and he felt compelled to depict it through painting.
Describing himself as a “colorist,” Mr. Boydston’s artwork contains almost no drawing and instead many straight, rigid lines of color, comparable to modern artist Josef Albers. As he continued to paint Rincon Point, the lines gradually became straighter, resulting in the art style he will showcase in the October biennial.
Now 59 years old with more than 40 years as a professional artist under his belt, Mr. Boydston is overjoyed at the opportunity to have his work featured at the international exhibition, which he views as the apex of his career.
“On a career level, this is my Superbowl. I’m the underdog. I’m the local kid taking Rincon onto the world stage,” he said.
He not only admires the individual artists whose work his will stand next to during the exhibition, but also the biennial’s ethos of going against the grain to promote “faith in art,” which he described as elements of light. In his estimation, elements of darkness are not only more prevalent in art today, but more respected as well.
“The tendency nowadays is to put down faith in art, and they want to make faith in art fashionable,” he said of the exhibition.
Personally, it is a change in the art world that would like to see. In fact, he thinks it will one day happen. “There’s a lot of darkness in the world and eventually I think the light will win out,” he said.