Stanley Spencer Evokes Controversial Dichotomies
British artist Stanley Spencer's paintings combine themes that are not traditionally found together to create a new and often provocative perspective. Spencer takes Biblical scenes and sets them in his home town, mixing the historical past with his present reality. Scenes regarding a sexual nature are painted in a redeeming light. Mystical scenes are situated in Spencer's modern context. By juxtaposing these dissimilar topics, Spencer searches for a new and deeper understanding. In modern times, many Stanley Spencer fans only appreciate and recall the whimsical aspects of aspects of his work. A viewer such as this does not consider the controversial subject matter tackled by Spencer. The work made by Stanley Spencer refuses to be sorted into a box within which they can be easily dealt with. The struggle creates an changing meaning creates a work that continues to be of value over the course of history. Stanley Spencer was an English painter born in 1891. He attended the Slade School of London, but traveled home most days for tea to his home town of Cookham. Because of his eccentric obsession with the town of Cookham, his fellow students even began to use Cookham as a nickname for Spencer. As exhibited in many of his paintings Spencer was deeply religious, but not in a conventional sense. He felt that organized “religion is a gloomy wretched thing, a depressing atmosphere”.  Spencer's paintings drew on his different approach to faith and are often quirky depictions of Biblical stories set in his hometown. During WWI Spencer served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. So shocked by what he saw, Spencer took a two year painting holiday at the suggestion of his friend. In 1925, Spencer married Hilda Carline, a fellow artist. Spencer became charmed by his neighbor Patrice Preece. He divorced Carline in 1937 and married Preece one week later. Preece continued to live with her female partner Dorthy Hepworth and...
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