Bill Armstrong’s Infinity series is an extensive body of work photographed since 1997. It includes a wide range of portfolios, from figurative to abstract, that are made using a unique process of photographing found images with the camera’s focusing ring set at infinity. This process subjects the images to a series of manipulations—photocopying, cutting, painting, re-photographing—transforms the originals and giving them a new meaning and context. Extreme blurring makes the edges within the collages disappear, so the photographs appear to be seamless, integrated images.
With this deliberate practice Armstrong aims to conjure a mysterious tromp l’oeil world that hovers between the real and the fantastic. A world just beyond grasp, where place may be suggested, but never defined, and where the identity of the amorphous figures remains in question. It is a world that might exist in memory, dreams, or, perhaps, in a parallel universe yet unvisited. Created from Armstrong’s fascination with the nature of visual perception: how the eye continually tries to resolve these images, but is unable to do so, and how that can be unsettling. Further drawn to the idea that one can believe something is real, while at the same time knowing it is illusory; that the experience of visual confusion, when the psyche is momentarily derailed, grants freedom to respond emotionally. At the heart of these collages is the subject of colour. Extreme de-focusing enables Armstrong to blend and distil hues, creating rhapsodies of colour that become meditative pieces—enabling glimpses into the space of pure colour, beyond focus, beyond ones ken.