Painting is always a paradox – a flat representation of a three-dimensional world, an image of something but only paint on canvas. It can be physical and real and abstract all at once. A painting has to come to terms with everything the artist has experienced, everything suffered, enjoyed, felt, and understood. It has to have that kind of complexity.
Plein air painter Martha Armstrong has been described as a “suave disciplinarian of a muscular style.” Known for her landscapes of natural shapes, sometimes wild and jagged, Martha uses strong brushstrokes to stack blocky shapes of color into an extraordinary scene. She tends toward abstraction, yet a concrete image is always present. A former dancer and teacher of ballet, Martha’s work subtly reflects images of movement and rhythm. Her works are best understood as abstracted realism where forms, composition, color and light have an often undefined relationship to optical reality.
Martha received her Bachelor of Arts at Rhode Island School of Design and her Masters at Smith College. Martha has been featured in more than fifty solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, and ninety group shows. She has been a Visiting Artist at more than two dozen institutions around the country and the world, including American University in Washington, D.C., the School of Chicago Art Institute, Hollins University in Todi, Italy, and the American Academy in Rome. Her paintings are in dozens of permanent collections, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Wharton School in Philadelphia, Hallmark Cards headquarters and the RCA Corporation. She is also in private collections around the world.