September 8 – October 22, 2005
Thursday, September 8, 2005
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
ClampArt is pleased to announce Apparition, an exhibition of new photographs by artist, Bill Armstrong, from the ongoing Infinity series. The mysterious and powerful images in this body of work capture fleeting “visitations” from the spirit world—visions as they might appear in dreams or heightened states of wakefulness.
The photographs are made using Armstrong’s unique process of re-working found images and photographing them extremely out of focus. In this case, the original source materials are reproductions of Roman sculpture shot with the camera lens set at infinity. What began as collages now appear seamless in the final photographs—integrated images which hover between the real and the fantastic in a world just beyond grasp.
The meanings underpinning Apparition radiate in a number of directions. While many of the images are dark, ghoulish visions, others are hopeful spiritual presences. For Armstrong, the ghosts of ancient Rome represent particularly appropriate messengers for our time, as we contemplate the fate of our own empire and whether its inevitable decline has already begun. The powerful features of these Romans—emperor and soldier alike—bear witness to the eternal truths of the human condition as fear and hope jockey in a headlong race. On another level, however, the work resonates personally for Armstrong, as he made these images shortly after his father’s death from cancer. While it was only later that he understood the photographs as attempts to communicate with the dead, the evidence of the power of the subconscious was a revelation. In this sense, Apparition is also an artist’s quest to come to grips with the horror of death and the hope of redemption through image making.
Bill Armstrong lives in New York City. This is his second solo show at ClampArt. Recent museum exhibitions include the Hayward Gallery, London; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; DeCordorva Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts; and the Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona, Florida.