Home Magazine Rhythmic compositions and latent spirituality: the micro and macro level in Marc Standing’s artistic production

Marc Standing is a Zimbabwean/British artist whose abstract artworks question metaphysical existentialities, complex organisms, and narratives on a microscopic level.

Related articles: Lisa Mee’s Colorful Windows That Open to NatureThe Bridging of the Ancestral and the Contemporary Via the Works of Bosco Sodi, A Journey to the Exciting World of Paper. Tour Guide: Ken Prescott.

The artist is well travelled. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe, he has lived in South Africa, Australia, and Hong Kong and he now currently resides in London.  In his art, it is clear that his worldly experiences have led him to join connections between seemingly disparate inspirations, while not losing sight of localised cultures.
Marc Standing’s artworks have found their homes in many private collections around the world, including the Cathay Pacific Lounge, Hong Kong, and London’s famous Groucho Club.

Marc Standing, Masquerade, 2022, courtesy of Cicek Gallery

His ability to approach his work from a simultaneously macro and micro level means that each large-scale, explosive canvas is full of atomic details. From afar the effect is immediate, and the dense compositions establish themselves into a forest of abstractions, punctuated with dramatic colour contrasts. On close inspection, however, abstractions give way to creatures, who transform into each other in what could be seen as a lively ecosystem or a complex mating ritual. Narrative lies at the heart of Standing’s painterly means of processing the world, and viewing his works is to be led in many directions across the canvas at once.
Through the use of earth tones and repeating geometric patterns, Standing’s art pays homage to tribal, even aboriginal motifs, but the artist develops these beyond superficially aesthetic references. He finds magic in connecting natural details with references to the body and soul, and his rhythmic compositions hum with a latent spirituality. 

Marc Standing, I Am You, 2021, courtesy of Cicek Gallery

Standing combines oil paint and textiles on canvas to build a layered image. Immediate associations with collage spring to mind, but this is a misdirection. Using experimental ways to apply paints and dye-patterned fabrics, there is actually less physical layering of materials on the canvas than the human eye is led to believe. Taking I Am You (2021) for example, the stratified composition does involve hand-sewn fabric segments, demarcated by the visible stitching, but the overall patchwork effect is a testament to Standing’s painterly skills.
Constructing Echoes (2022) is a carefully structured artwork that investigates networks both between and within bodies. Three umbilical-like threads emanate from three geometric figures, all interconnected in a non-hierarchical composition. The painting depicts a metaphorical genealogy, exploring the concept of ancestry on a cellular level. The boundaries of each element are rendered in painted versions of the sewn stiches seen in Standing’s other paintings and tapestries.

Marc Standing, Constructing Echoes, 2022, courtesy of Cicek Gallery

Marc Standing obtained his BAFA honours degree from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, with distinctions in painting. Standing has taken part in numerous group and solo exhibitions internationally and collaborates with Cicek Gallery in London. He will soon take part in the upcoming group show African Abstraction with Montague Contemporary in New York, in March 2023.
Check out all of Marc Standing’s artworks on Kooness

Cover image: Marc Standing, I Am You, 2021, courtesy of Cicek Gallery
Written by Marcus Howard-Vyse. Cicek Gallery

Stay Tuned on Kooness Art Magazine for more exciting news from the art world.