Mary Armstrong Statement
The act of painting gives material weight to sensation. The connection of my paintings to my life, every single moment, is as seamless as I can possibly make it. I spend half a year on the coast of Maine near Bath. Everyday I stare wide-eyed at the changing light, and perceive, more and more deeply, the symbiotic connection of earth and sky. I see how the forces shape each other and I strive to create a painted space that will express the ineffable beauty of this dynamic “sandwich” of atmosphere and earth. I am striving, in my daily practice in the studio, to continually improvise from my perceptions; this makes the process very active, containing many layers of oil paint and wax (on wood panel). I am student of light and a collector of air.
I am alone in the studio, solitary but not isolated. I am very interested in what is happening outside the walls of that space. Particularly how we are altering our relationship to the earth. I have some anxiety about this.
I want to create the illusion of a vast and endless space that is full of incident and light. And I am always interested in exploring how our assumptions about imagery in painting prejudice our expectation of how those paintings are made. As the image lures the viewer into making assumptions about what is being presented, the surface invites intimacy by physically disrupting that surface. I seek to undermine the illusion of space by scraping and sanding and removing material. It is a constant struggle to reconcile the physical and metaphysical (solid mass and atmosphere) and to establish a dynamic visual space where they will exist together.