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DAVID ARMSTRONG | COLOUR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHS

February 3rd 2017
In this article we revisit the work of American photographer David Armstrong, who made exclusive editions with Eyestorm in 2000.

Linked to the group often referred to as the ‘Boston School’ of photographers, who included his good friend Nan Goldin amongst others, American photographer David Armstrong first gained prominence in the 1980s with his intimate portraits of beautiful young men, who were either lovers or friends, in sharp focus and usually in black and white. Along with Goldin and his other peers, he explored the overlapping worlds of social outsiders from the inside, affectionately capturing gay men, drug addicts, transvestites, fashion models and artists alike to create highly captivating and often controversial images.

In the 1990s, Armstrong decided to move away from the portraiture work he was known for, and began to photograph cityscapes and landscapes. In an attempt to do something completely different, he chose to work in colour and very soft focus; a complete contrast to his previous work. Trees, roads, buildings and street lights were reduced to a mottled blur, almost like impressionist painting, to create sensual and calming scenes. This was to become his signature way of working in the years that followed. The soft appearance drew attention away from the surface detail and towards broader questions of composition, colour variation and the subtleties of light; the result was a truly stunning and rather endearing body of work.

It was these images that formed the basis for the series of Eyestorm editions published with Armstrong in 2000. Three diptychs were created in editions of 100, and proved to be popular at the time of their release. His titles for the works are very literal; in Bush, Tivoli, Wall, Rome (diptych), the first print of the pair depicts a bronze-coloured bush, which we can assume is located in the Italian town Tivoli, and the second, what can just be made out to be a wall, which appears to be running alongside a park, presumably in Rome.

Bordering on abstract in their appearance, there’s a beautiful sense of romance in these works. The light falling on the trees in the image with the wall reminds us of lazy summer afternoons walking in the park. The bush in the left hand image is perhaps not usually the ideal subject for a photograph, but by presenting it in such a way, Armstrong encourages us to view it differently, so that it almost becomes some sort of monumental object.

Tree Trunk, Tivoli, Lilacs, Bovina (diptych), is a similar scenario. The tree in the left hand image is glistening in the sunlight to once again create bronzy tones, and in the image on the right we can just about make out flecks of lilac to distinguish the subject matter.

Despite being lesser known than some of his peers such as Goldin, Armstrong enjoyed a full and varied career. The Whitney Museum in New York holds a number of his photographs in their permanent collection after his works were included in their 1995 Biennial. He has exhibited internationally, both in one-man shows and and group exhibitions, often showing his work alongside that of other members of the Boston Group. His photographs have appeared in many publications including French Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Arena Homme+, Another Man and Japanese Vogue among others.

There are still a few of Bush, Tivoli, Wall, Rome (diptych) and Tree Trunk, Tivoli, Lilacs, Bovina (diptych) aleft available from £900.00, each signed and numbered by the artist on the reverse. This price includes the two prints in the diptych. See the works in more detail and read more about David Armstrong here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
DAVID ARMSTRONG
Bush, Tivoli, Wall, Rome (diptych)
 
DAVID ARMSTRONG
Tree Trunk, Tivoli, Lilacs, Bovina (diptych)
 
 
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