Bill Armstrong: Mandalas


 Bill Armstrong's Mandalas are one element of the ongoing Infinity series that he began in 1997 and I am thrilled to publish a handful in the magazine - I find them especially mesmerizing on black and in full screen. Set aside some time and view the full screen magazine photo feature.

Bill's statement:
The Infinity series is an extensive body of work that I have been photographing since 1997. It includes a wide range of portfolios, from figurative to abstract, that are made using my unique process of photographing found images extremely out of focus with the camera's focusing ring set at infinity.

My unique process of appropriating images and subjecting them to a series of manipulations - photocopying, cutting, painting, re-photographing - transforms the originals and gives them a new meaning in a new context. Extreme blurring makes the edges within the collages disappear, so the photographs appear to be seamless, integrated images. This sleight of hand allows me to conjure a mysterious tromp l'oeil world that hovers between the real and the fantastic. It is a world just beyond our grasp, where place may be suggested, but is never defined, and where the identity of the amorphous figures remains in question. It is a world that might exist in memory, in dreams, or, perhaps, in a parallel universe yet unvisited. 

The nature of visual perception intrigues me: how the eye continually tries to resolve these images, but is unable to do so, and how that is unsettling. And I am drawn to the idea that we can believe something is real, while at the same time knowing it is illusory; that the experience of visual confusion, when the psyche is momentarily derailed, is what frees us to respond emotionally. 

At the same time, the subject of these collages is color. Extreme de-focusing enables me to blend and distill hues, creating rhapsodies of color that are meditative pieces - glimpses into a space of pure color, beyond our focus, beyond our ken.

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