My most recent series of paintings is called Reservoir. I completed these paintings over the past year in what was a very focused and productive time for me. Many calamitous and unsettling world events took place during this period, a time also marked by heavy rains that brought about the end of a long and severe drought. Water, life sustaining and reflective, is also capable of great turbulence and destruction. Thus it became an apt metaphor for me as I attempted to puzzle through these paintings.

As I worked, I began to construct in my mind an imagined environment that contained structures to direct, collect, contain, extract, traverse and conduct water. Taking the form of blueprints, pipes, bridges, escarpments, aqueducts and towers, the images that emerged seem to be constructed resourcefully and logically from random scraps and remnants of my consciousness; instructions, thoughts, memories and historical evidence. The structures are both bulwarks and conduits that help to navigate the complexity of experience.

My work is abstract but I am guided by a strong narrative impulse. My process is intuitive and I prefer to puzzle out the painting through the process of making rather than starting with a concrete plan or image. My work courts uncertainty and chaos while also desiring control, analysis and rationality. I am drawn to the natural world but feel a strong affinity for architectural spaces. My paintings are humorous but come from a sincere and heartfelt place. I feel comfortable working within these contradictions.

Random events, people and objects informed this series. The national political drama, my late father's electronic schematic drawings, the music of Alice Coltrane, the photographs of Bernd and Hila Bechter, the color in Matisse's paintings and my interactions with the natural world, including my daily walks with my dog at the marsh near my home. I take it all in and let it wash over me in all its wonderful confusion.


Teresa Stanley’s topographical compositions create a world where strong shapes reverberate and interplay with spatial fluidity. The architectural quality of her work is undeniable. The abstract forms become buildings that construct neighborhoods and the lines create an intricate navigational network of connection. Stanley’s layered surface relationships are a metaphor for the delicate balance between what is man-made and the forces of nature we seek to harness. She embraces the duality of being both map-maker and wilderness guide.

Teresa likes to convey a sense of contradiction through her choice of unexpected palettes and layers of translucent surface marks and imperfections. She reminds us that humanity is messy and chaotic, born out of tension. Evolution is the inevitable outcome of dynamic lines insinuating order in an otherwise unruly terrain. Teresa’s most recent body of work is centered on the idea of “an imagined environment that contained structures to direct, collect, contain, extract, traverse and conduct water”. Stanley prefers to work intuitively, relying on memory and emotion to inform her pieces.

Teresa Stanley is an accomplished mid-career artist with an MFA from U.C. Berkeley. She is presently a Professor of Art at Humboldt State University. Her work is held in a number of public and private collections. Stanley has been the recipient of several artist grants and independent awards in the last three decades. Her work has been featured in innumerable solo and group exhibitions. Teresa presently works and resides in Arcata, CA with her husband, Jack, and her son, Alex.



Master of Fine Arts, University of California, Berkeley

Master of Arts, San Francisco State University

Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Santa Barbara

Professional EXPERIENCE

1991 - Present
Professor, Art, Humboldt State University

1989 - 1991
Lecturer, Art, San Francisco State University

Selected Solo and Two Person Exhibitions

Teresa Stanley: Reservoir Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA

Teresa Stanley: The Water Seekers  HSU Third Street Gallery, Eureka, CA

Teresa Stanley: Paintings  Annex Gallery, CSU Sacramento 
Teresa Stanley: The Mid-Day Garden Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, California

Teresa Stanley: New Paintings Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, California
Teresa Stanley: Treasure 555 California Street Lobby, San Francisco,       
Teresa Stanley: Treasure 199 Fremont Street Lobby, San Francisco

Teresa Stanley: New Paintings Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, California

Teresa Stanley: Paintings Piante Gallery, Eureka, California

Teresa Stanley: Works on Paper 2004-2006 Stellar Somerset Gallery, Palo Alto, California

Teresa Stanley: New Paintings   Stellar Somerset Gallery, Palo Alto, California

Leslie Price/Teresa Stanley New Paintings   Humboldt State University, First Street Gallery

Off the Canvas: Geometry and Space Olive Hyde Gallery, Fremont, California

Teresa Stanley: Moving Pictures Pence Gallery, Davis, California
Teresa Stanley/Stephanie Peek:  3-D Painters Modesto Junior College Art Gallery, Modesto, California

Teresa Stanley: Recent Paintings Carnegie Museum, Eureka, California

Teresa Stanley:  New Paintings and Drawings Reese Bullen Gallery, Humboldt State University

Introductions 91:  Teresa Stanley and Shelley Jordan  William Sawyer Gallery, San Francisco, California

Selected Group Exhibitions

Authentic Threads Canvas and Clay Gallery, Eureka, CA

The Art of the Flower  Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO  group invitational
William Rainey, Theresa Robinson, Robert Roth, Teresa Stanley 4-person exhibit, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO

HSU Staff and Faculty  Haldan Gallery, South Lake Tahoe Community College          

San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art  Connect & Collect, San Jose, CA

Parallel Play  Prographica Gallery, Seattle, WA

Botanically Inclined  Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, California

Affordable Art Fair  Los Angeles (with Anelle Gandleman Fine Art,  NY)
Art: Hamptons International Art Fair, New York (with Anelle Gandleman Gallery, NY)

Abstraction  Piante Gallery, Eureka, CA 
Affordable Art Fair  NYC (with Anelle Gandleman Fine Art, NY)
Introduction Group Show K. Imperial Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Art Fair (with Bryant Street Gallery) SF, CA

Faculty Exchange Exhibit California State University, Stanislaus

Red Dot Art Fair, New York, New York (with Bryant Street Gallery)
2nd Biannual Exhibition of Small Work Todd Gallery, Middle Tennesee State University.  Juror Dave Hickey (catalog)              

10th Anniversary Art Exhibit   Golden Foundation for the Arts, New Berlin, New York (catalog)

The Art of the Small Painting Stellar Somerset Gallery, Palo Alto, California

African Artists/American Artists American Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya
Artists Council 34th Annual National Juried Exhibition Palm Springs Desert Museum                                                                                                                       46th Annual International Award Exhibition San Diego Art Institute International Juried Show New Jersey Center for Visual Arts 

Regional Invitational Exhibition First Street Gallery, Eureka, California
Northern National Juried Exhibition Nicolet College, LRC Gallery Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Abstraction ‘97 II  The Stage Gallery, Merrick, New York
National ‘97 Exhibition ARTernatives, San Luis Obispo, California
Exemplary Contemporary  Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, UCSC
Summer Show:  Gallery Artists  Joan Roebuck Gallery, Lafayette, California
The Third Dimension   Center for the Visual Arts, Oakland, California

Concerning Wood  Joan Roebuck Gallery, Lafayette, California

Rational and Emotional Abstractions:  Lee Musgrave, Deb Ramsey and Teresa Stanley  Wiseman Gallery, Rogue Community College, Grants Pass, Oregon
Women Artists 95  Matrix Gallery, Sacramento, California
Teresa Stanley (3-person exhibit) SF MOMA Artist’s Gallery San Francisco, California
About Abstraction:  Teresa Stanley (5-person exhibit) Bedford Gallery, Regional Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California

Small Extravagances Gallery 57, Fullerton, California
Drawn to Abstraction Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, California
4th Annual Works on Paper Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, California

Tribute  William Sawyer Gallery, San Francisco, California
Gallery Artists William Sawyer Gallery, San Francisco, California

Bay Arts Annual   San Mateo Arts Council, San Mateo, California

Paper in Particular   Columbia College/Missouri Arts Council, Columbia, Missouri


Ingrid Nickleson Trust Individual Artists Grant

Samuel E. and Adele Golden Foundation Individual Artist Grant

Humboldt State University Emeritus Faculty Grant

2nd Place Award, Exemplary Contemporary, U.C. Santa Cruz
Juror:  Peter Gordon, Head Curator, San Jose MOMA

Humboldt State University Affirmative Action Mini-Grant

S.E.C.A. award nominee, SF Museum of Modern Art

U.C. Art Affiliates Award for Excellence in Painting


Murphy, Rachel and Weber, Dalton “The Water Seekers”  (exhibition catalog)

Studio Visit Magazine Summer 2016, Open Studio Press
Woven Tale Press  Volume IV, No. 8 October 2016

Reyner, Nancy  Acrylic Innovations: Styles and Techniques of 64 Visionary Artists Northlight Books, October 2010
Studio Visit Magazine  Volume 11, Summer 2010, Open Studios Press Humboldt State University Faculty Exchange Show CSU Stanilaus (catalog)

Nuell, Lon, Hickey, Dave “12 x 12 Tennessee State University” (exhibition catalog)

Murray, Mary E.  “Golden Foundation for the Arts 1997-2007” (catalog for the 10th  Anniversary Exhibition)

Stellar, James  “Teresa Stanley: Paintings”  (catalog)

Robertson, Gwen  “Teresa Stanley: Keyholes” (exhibition catalog)  

selected bibliography

Gopinath, Gabrielle  “Water Seekers and Pretty Ones” review The North Coast Journal October 4, 2017
Butler, Wendy  “Art Waves: Teresa Stanley”   Interview on KHSU about my exhibit at Third Street Gallery

Jaegar, Emily  “Interview: Teresa Stanley: The dance between the scientific inquiry and the artistic one.”  Woven Tales Press, October 2016

Evans, Richard "Abstracted" The Northcoast Journal  December 1, 2011 Alderson, Julie “My 4-year-old Cannot Do This” How to Look at Abstract Painting “  Humboldt Magazine  Spring 2011

Butler, Wendy “Art Waves”  KHSU   Radio interview about my work.

“Golden Grant for NorCal artist”  Artweek  May 2004

Beeler, Monique "Canvas can't contain this exhibit at Olive Hyde" The  Argus  May 2002

Stutzin, Leo “Artists show three-dimensional works”  Modesto Bee February 1998
Servis, Nancy M.  “Big Plans in Store at Pence Gallery”  The Davis Enterprise  January 1998
Moyle, Marilyn “Third Saturday Openings” a New Trend for Davis Art?”   The Davis Enterprise  January 1998
Harrington, Shayne “The Pence Gallery Collection Unites Structure with Chaos with Teresa Stanley’s Moving Pictures”   The California Aggie  February 1998    

“Painted Sculpture: Abstract art inspired by old buildings” The Times Standard  September 1997

SF MOMA News  March/April 1995 pg. 19 (reproduction)
Thyme, Jolene “Abstraction Show focuses on lesser-known artists” Contra Costa Times, January 1995

Wilson, Sally, “The Big Picture”  Diablo Arts Magazine   Dec/Feb 1994