April 4-28, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, April 6, 5-7 pm
Each piece of a painting should bear significance like the words of a poem - resonant, signaling. - Martha Armstrong
Martha Armstrong is compelled to paint. For Armstrong, painting is as essential and ingrained as breathing. It is how she engages and understands the world. Painting connects her to where she is - the place right under her feet - and, at the same time, unites her with the great tradition of painting and the community of visual artists. This exhibition features the landscape paintings she made while in Italy, Arizona, Ireland, and Vermont. These works reveal the character, structure, rhythm, light, and atmosphere of each place through Armstrong's unmistakable hand.
Armstrong is aware of the abstraction inherent in all painting, and balances the demands of the painting itself with the subject that is honored by it. She creates metaphors for the complexity of her experience as a living, breathing person standing in a place that is unique for a moment that will never be repeated. With the limited tools of a painter, Armstrong seeks to make a work of art which incorporates the abundance of her emotions and shares the breadth of her perception and her response.
I am interested in the light and how it affects color, how it feels, how it affects constellations of trees, sky, and ground. I want the painting to stay a landscape, to be in the tradition of landscape painting. I want it to be formal - to be settled and separate from the emotional jumble that might inspire it. But I want it to carry the power of color and light in its composition.
What you're trying to do in a paintings is make the marks, forms and colors bear all the weight of reality and feeling. I get at this best painting outside - the studio without walls.
Martha Armstrong graduated from Smith College and the Rhode Island School of Design. She has been represented in Philadelphia by Gross McCleaf Gallery since 1974 and has exhibited at the Walter Wickiser Gallery and the Bowery Gallery in New York. Armstrong has influenced a generation of painters while teaching at Bryn Mawr College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hollins University, Dartmouth College, Haverford College, the Kansas City Art Institute, Indiana University, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.