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David Scott Armstrong’s creative practice explores the connections between materiality, reproducibility and time through a variety of mediums. For the last ten years, he has been concerned with the relationship between perception and representation. Armstrong is particularly interested in printmaking as an organic and mechanical, singular and serial, temporal and spatial, process.
His exhibition at the Malaspina Printmakers Gallery, And Now, Then Otherwise, consists of two related bodies of work from 2005, concerned with the terms and conditions of the production and reproduction of the printed image. These works draw attention to printmaking as an indirect and labor intensive form of artistic expression by exploring the printing apparatus and the site of production.
In the Press Bed Print series, Armstrong renders the tool of reproduction visible by printing the surface of the press bed itself. After printing the press bed with black ink, he adds a photographically derived image, juxtaposing two indexical signs within the same picture, simultaneously exposing and covering over the origin of the work. The result is a permanent blurring of the line between intention and chance.
Armstrong explores the creative potential of the material residue generated at the site of print production in the Dust Print series. By using dust and detritus from the floor of the printing studio to render these images, he returns the residue to the process that once created it. Here Armstrong elegantly exposes the vexed relationship between unique artistic expression and mechanical reproduction.
The work in And Now, Then Otherwise can be understood as a personal engagement with the very nature of the printed image, alternating as a vehicle for the dissemination of information and as an aesthetic object.
David Scott Armstrong (b. 1969) is an artist and educator based in Toronto. He has exhibited across Canada, in Estonia, Japan, Korea, Russia, and The United States. Armstrong is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Print Media Area Faculty of Fine Arts at York University in Ontario. He has recently co-edited and written for a forthcoming issue of the journal Visible Language.
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