Martha Armstrong/ New Paintings

Bowery Gallery is very proud to present Martha Armstrong’s show of recent landscapes March 26 to April 20, 2019.

Her  2015 solo show at Bowery was reviewed by Roberta Smith for the NY Times who wrote, “Ms Armstrong is the suave disciplinarian of a muscular style.  She stacks blocky shapes of color that describe one landscape- a hill with some woods and a shack-visible from the window of her Vermont studio that may be her Mont Sainte-Victoire.  But her shapes also maintain a nearly sculptural independence, hovering slightly above the image, just beyond legibility…They wear their devotions on their sleeves-Cezanne, Fauvism, Cubism, Arthur Dove- but their bigness, blockiness and electric spontaneity are quite their own…”  (NYTimes, 9/25/15)

Grandmother’s Tale I,  34 x 50″,  oil on canvas,  2018

Armstrong herself says that  she is most influenced by Modernism, painting of the late 19th century and the first sixty years of the 20th, the experimentation and intuition, the focus on metaphor.

 

Fall Bright Day, 28 x 36″,  oil on canvas, 2017

Many of  Armstrong’s landscapes are inspired by a place she knows well. She says: “I paint trees in a woodlot in Vermont where my husband and I have taken our family since 1969.   A landscape so familiar takes on resonance of something felt or experienced,  stand-ins for something or someone”.

 

Late Summer II, 28 x 36″,  oil on canvas,   2018

Of her love of Nature she says,   “I remember the privacy of childhood wandering the woods near home in Cincinnati or visiting my grandmother on a lake in Michigan”.     Even now, she says, “I get my best work done outside, alone, without interruption”.

Grandmother’s Tale II, 34 x 50″, oil on canvas, 2018

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In recent years Armstrong has been traveling and painting in Arizona.  It is a very different landscape from Vermont but we recognize  her clearly defined forms, and signature spatial and color relationships.

Sunset  Behind Storm Clouds, 11 x 18″,   oil on canvas, 2017

Tucson Sunset

Tuscon Sunset, 30 x 48″,  oil on canvas,  2016

Martha Armstrong has been teaching and exhibiting continuously since the early 1980’s.  It is a resume too long to include in this blog but can be viewed on her website: MarthaArmstrong_resume

Typical of  her generous nature, she says,   ” I have always learned from my students”.   When I asked her what were some of the things she always mentions to her students,  she shared this:

From Braque: “I am far more concerned about being in tune with nature than copying it.”

Tuscon Morning, 30 x 48″,  oil on canvas,  2016

……And,  as Manet said,   each time he began painting it is like jumping into the water and having to learn to swim all over again.

Waves and Shore, Ireland, 14 x 21″,   oil on canvas,  2016

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In a recent statement Martha Armstrong wrote: “The 20th century left us with many new ideas about painting. In 1999 I held a seminar at Hollins University to discuss what we must take into the 21st century, ideas that should not be lost. How to integrate them into 30,000 years of painting? Photography and computers have mechanized the process of capturing an image. But what about the hand? We talk with our hands. The architect James Cutler speaks about getting his people to draw by hand. Drawing comes from the same part of the brain as speech and memory and creativity– eye to brain to hand, making marks, an image”.

More about Martha Armstong’s work and background is on her web site: Martha Armstrong

The Martha Armstrong/ New Paintings opening reception is Thursday, March 28, 5-8 PM.

 

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Bowery Gallery

 530 West 25th street, 4th floor,

NY, NY 10001

Gallery hours are 11am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, please contact the gallery at 646-230-6655 or info@bowerygallery.org

**DIANE DRESCHER

 

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