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  Academie En Rose 1

John Armstrong

John Armstrong is an internationally shown artist whose work focuses on the textural properties of paint. Much of his work incorporates language.

John Armstrong holds an M.A. from Chelsea School of Art (London, UK) and a B.F.A. from Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB). Since 1982, Armstrong has instructed in the studio division of the Art and Art History Program, a collaborative B.A. program between the University of Toronto at Mississauga and Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario; he has, additionally, taught on the Cultural Studies Program, Trent University (1982-87), and has served as an external assessor for the École municipale des beaux-arts de Caen (1996, 1989) and for the École régionale des beaux-arts de Rouen (1991). Armstrong has exhibited his work in Toronto galleries such as YYZ and Cold City, as well as nationally and internationally. A 1998 survey exhibition of his artwork from the 1990s, titled "Sanguine," was organized by Cambridge Galleries, and toured to several Canadian destinations. Armstrong was a member of the Board of Directors of Mercer Union (an artist-run centre in Toronto) from 1991 to 1997, and has curated exhibitions in Toronto for Mercer Union and The Museum for Textiles, and in Peterborough for Artspace. He is a frequent contributor of reviews and articles to C International Contemporary Art; his writing has also appeared in ArtsAtlantic, BorderCrossings, and Parachute, as well as in The Globe and Mail.

Artist's Statement about Académie en rose

These painted roses on photographic enlargements of deteriorating clay and wire nude studies are intended to question traditional aesthetics and how ideals of beauty are perpetuated by notions of classical fine art training. I don't know the context for the original assignment in the life modeling class which gave rise to these student sketches in clay, but as I encountered these figures - over a number of weeks drying out and cracking in the periphery of the studio in which I teach (on a university art program) - I was struck by their incompleteness. As sketches they represent one of many steps towards the mastery of the figure - in this case that of a woman - and are, as such, necessarily unfinished. In nineteenth-century France, such studies in two- or three-dimensions were called Académies; they have been part of the stock-in-trade of much art school training ever since. As student works, they point to received directives, and to the ingenuousness, both technical and conceptual, of their makers. As objects and representations of women, however, they seemed to me symptomatic of much that is problematic inside and outside of art education. My intention in this piece was to complete or bring to fruition these studies in a manner that would give them a dignity, purpose, or perhaps even health.

Select a thumbnail of a given piece to see it at a fuller size:

Oak and Acorn Rhone Poulenc II Sticks Out You Can't Resist

Academie en Rose series:
Academie en Rose 1 Academie en Rose 2 Academie en Rose 3 Bronze Rose
Academie en Rose 4 Academie en Rose 5 Academie en Rose 6

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