“Like a sculptor, Armstrong has pared away all but the figure, letting it fly or fall or struggle. Removing extraneous detail, he gives it new life. Armstrong breathes into the darkness to reveal the shadow of man against the light, the classic tale as well as the essence of photography.”
W.M. Hunt, ‘Shadow in the Sun’
Renaissance is a portfolio of photographs in the ongoing Infinity series: an extensive body of work begun in 1997. They are made using a unique process of photographing found images extremely out of focus, with the lens set at infinity. In this case, the source materials are reworked master drawings, mostly from the Renaissance. The multi-layered process of reproduction and blurring, appropriating an image and subjecting it to a series of manipulations (photocopying, cutting, painting, re-photographing) transforms the original images, giving them a new meaning in a new context - a renaissance of the Renaissance.
“Film Noir” revisits the themes of the classic black-and-white films of the 40s and 50s, but with the lush, saturated colors for which Bill Armstrong is known. The solitary figures contemplating the unknown reference the ethical and philosophical dilemmas laid out in those stories. Armstrong’s mysterious images remain unresolved, however, hinting at the increased uncertainties of the contemporary viewpoint.
After: Dreaming in Color
Partial Appearances is a meditation on self, identity and the psychological state of being in-between that reflects the transitional nature of contemporary life. Appearances may or may not be real, and half-truths are often the best one can hope for. Identity, itself, is in question as the shift from the real to the “cyber” leaves the individual in a state of flux. At the same time, once fixed ideas about gender have become fluid and open.