ARTIST SERIES

Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1200)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1200)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1203)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1203)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1206)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1206)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1207)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1207)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1215)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1215)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1216)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1216)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1219)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1219)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1221)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1221)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1224)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1224)
Bill Armstrong, Untitled (Renaissance Portrait 1225)
Untitled (Renaissance Portrait #1225)

“Renaissance Portraits” is a portfolio of blurred photographs made by re-photographing reproductions of 15th- and 16th-century paintings. The images act as a metaphor for the passage of time, suggesting a vision of the Renaissance obscured by the fog of history. It’s a view of the period that could not have existed at the time, prior to the invention of photography and the focusing lens.

The dreamlike images, at once familiar and strange, investigate the nature of perception as the eye continually tries to resolve them, but is unable to do so. How one compares oneself to the subject is paramount to the experience of looking at portraits: “I wish I were that rich, that beautiful” always crosses one’s mind. By erasing features, dissolving personal affect, and eliminating period dress, the artist hopes to create portraits that transcend individual personality and create archetypes for the human condition, allowing the viewer to experience the Renaissance portrait in a new way.

These photographs are also an attempt to revisit the light and color of the Renaissance—creating rhapsodies of color that are meditative pieces, glimpses into a world beyond our focus, beyond our ken.

Work by Bill Armstrong