Bill Armstrong : Buddha & Mandala
From the Infinity series
The Mandala photographs are loosely based on Buddhist paintings known as mandalas. Mandalas are concentric circles of images that depict central themes in Buddhism, such as the Wheel of Life or the Map of the Cosmos. Through abstraction, simplification and blur, I hope to create a context for the exploration of these broad spiritual themes that, rather than relying on a codified system, remains open and invites the viewer's personal interpretation.
Like the other portfolios in the Infinity series, the Mandalas are made from collages that have been photographed with the camera's focusing ring set on infinity. Extreme defocusing allows me to create rhapsodies of color that change as one gazes into them: they pulsate as if alive. This sense of "being" within the inanimate invites an inquiry into the idea of the interconnectedness of all things.
Whether seen as celestial spheres, imaginary objects, or microscopic details, the Mandalas are meant to be meditative pieces--glimpses into a space of pure color, beyond our focus, beyond our ken. Their essential purpose is to create a sense of transcendence, of radiance, of pure joy!
The Buddha series is made from images appropriated from books and the internet that are collaged against different backgrounds and then photographed out of focus. This process allows me to de-materialize the subjects and create ephemeral, transcendent images that explore different aspects of the spiritual world.
The photographs remind us that the Buddha figure is an imagined being not a real likeness, and they address the idea of mutability versus permanence. Their soft luminosity suggests transcendence and the auras around them supports the legend that there was an emanation around the Buddha figure. The Buddhas are meant to be meditative pieces in themselves. Sometimes they change as one gazes into them, pulsating as if alive and perhaps inviting an inquiry into the idea of “being" within the inanimate.
Exhibition on view: February 27-April 26, 2015
Opening reception: February 27, 2015 from 5:30pm-8:00pm
Bill Armstrong & W.M. Hunt Lecture "Thinking in Color": Saturday, February 28 at 6pm
W.M. Hunt workshop: Sunday, March 1st from 11am-2pm
Bill Armstrong workshop: Sunday, March 1st from 3pm-7pm