“The Mandala photographs are loosely based on traditional Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Mandala paintings. Mandalas are concentric circles of images that depict themes 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!”
Bill Armstrong is a New York based fine art photographer who has been shooting in color for over 30 years. Mr. Armstrong is represented by ClampArt in New York, Hackelbury in London and numerous galleries across the country and in Europe. His Mandala series was featured in a two-person exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2008, and he had a mid-career retrospective at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach in 2010. Mr. Armstrong’s work is in many museum collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Bibliotheque National de France. He has presented work in numerous museum exhibitions including: the Smithsonian Institute; Hayward Gallery, London; Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne; Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan; and FOAM, Amsterdam.
One of Mr. Armstrong’s images was chosen for the cover of Lyle Rexer’s Aperture book, The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography. His work appears in Face: The New Photographic Portrait by William Ewing and Exploring Color Photography, by Robert Hirsch, among other books. He has also been published in numerous periodicals including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, House and Garden and Eyemazing. He is on the faculty at the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts.