Occupying Detroit, an urban environment of simultaneous decomposition and recomposition, I am motivated to construct work reflecting a concern with the fallibility of structures that aim to halt entropy. Responding to this fundamental absurdity, I assemble visual narratives in which an attempt at stability is manufactured within a greater framework of indeterminacy. The vulgar degradation of principled attempts at revitalization, carries with it a critique of rational institutions. Reason is propped up by the flimsiest of scaffolds, serving as gags or jokes that acknowledge a more profound irrationality. My enthusiasm for obsolete print ephemera such as comic strips, tabloid newspapers, postcards, catalogs, manuals and advertisements, is intended to highlight the fugitive value of authoritative cultural currency.
Ryan Standfest is a Detroit-based artist. He is the editor and publisher of ROTLAND PRESS, presenting satirical publications of a culturally relevant nature. Rotland Press has published work by Sue Coe, David Lynch, David Shrigley and Art Spiegelman, among many others. The press was recognized by Art In America in 2016 as publishing a project that was one of the top five “significant artworks” to emerge from Detroit in that year. Standfest founded the performance group Cabaret BLACK EYE, a hybrid of vaudeville and Absurdist theatrical tendencies as a side project of Rotland Press. He is also a curator, assembling exhibitions that focus on different forms of humor in the visual arts. His publications and prints are in numerous collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson & Burnham Library, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France Prints and Photographs Department, and the Harvard University Library. Standfest has exhibited work nationally and abroad, most recently in the Mike Kelly Mobile Homestead at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the International Print Center of New York, and the Association Les Abattoirs in Riom, France. Standfest earned an MFA in Printmaking from The University of Iowa.