Bill Armstrong : "Mandala" and "Buddha"
Nov 14 – Dec 28, 2013
As part of his “Infinity” series in which the artist’s elaborately constructed collages are photographed on the infinity setting of his camera, New York artist Bill Armstrong’s “Mandala” photographs inventively reference the color wheels used for meditation in both Buddhist and Hindu practices. Sanskrit for “circle,” mandalas serve across cultures as an evocation of perfection – no beginning or end – and in Armstrong’s interpretation, the saturated, luminous colors vibrate with an optical frequency meant to “transport viewers inward toward the core in search of their own personal truths.”* With an undulating chromaticity that visually thrums, each carefully chosen palette amplifies the illusion of movement when experienced. For his third Robischon Gallery exhibition, the artist states, “ I am drawn to the idea that we can believe something is real, while at the same time know it is illusory; that the experience of visual confusion, when the psyche is momentarily derailed, is what frees us to respond emotionally. Through abstraction, simplification and blur, I hope to create a context for the exploration of broad spiritual themes not limited to a single religious practice. The work in the series is held together conceptually by its layered process and by the fact that extreme blurring de-materializes the subjects and renders them ephemeral. In this way, the mandalas become spirit-doubles for something in the tangible world. Yet, their essential purpose is to create a sense of transcendence, of radiance, of pure joy.”
Bill Armstrong attended Boston University and teaches photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. His work is in the permanent collections of American Museum in Britain, Bath, UK , Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA ,Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris, France, Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY , MA Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan, Italy, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, CT, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, Vatican Museum, The Vatican and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK. Many of the artist’s distinctive images have been published or written about in a wide variety of publications from the New York Times to Lyle Rexer’s “The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography” to “Color” by John Rohrbach and Silvie Penichon for the Amon Carter Museum.