HackelBury Fine Art is pleased to present Bill Armstrong: Chroma, 28 February – 9 April 2020. Chroma is a celebration of colour: vibrant red silhouettes are contrasted against a soft blue background, a bold yellow figure stretches across a swathe of rich cerulean, another figure, rendered in deep violet, appears against a green backdrop.
Through abstract colour fields, Bill Armstrong creates an otherworldly realm. He layers and manipulates collages of found materials, building an imagined scene which he then photographs with the camera’s focusing ring set to infinity. The resulting softened images erase the figures’ features and any identity associated with them to “make it possible for viewers to put themselves into the pictures—so that the portraits can become mirrors.”
Chroma concentrates on two bodies of work within Armstrong’s Infinity series: Renaissance and Film Noir. In Renaissance, Armstrong re-works old master drawings. The de-materialised lone figures are set against a single intense colour, chosen to elicit specific emotions in accordance with or in contrast to the figure’s pose. In Film Noir, the mysterious solitary figures placed against a layered backdrop of colour hint at the film noir themes of existentialist dilemma, yet remain haunting and unresolved.
Emphasising the unseen by concealing details is the foundation of Armstrong’s Infinity series. Compositions and forms take shape only through blurring dynamic colours together and merging the edges of the background and the foreground. The eye strives to resolve the areas which are left obscured, drawing the viewer deeper into Bill Armstrong’s meditative, parallel world of pure colour.