“I’ve always been competitive,” Alvin Armstrong told us this past Summer. “I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest, but I could always compete with the best because my nature has always been intense. Even if I was clueless, I knew that I would work like a dog until there was improvement. It was like wearing blinders, focusing on what was ahead and moving forward. When I did something and was dissatisfied with it, I didn’t stay there—I just worked at it again until I was satisfied.”
Anna Zorina Gallery is pleased to present It Goes to Show, Alvin Armstrong’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The show features the artist’s latest series of paintings that depict a dear friend, Miles, in candid poses of dance performance. Together they use their chosen media to convey a viscerally powerful, intimate narrative.
The painting medium sets the stage for Armstrong and Miles to join in the flow of storytelling, both become immersed in conveying raw, emotional depth through a rich vocabulary of body movement and shape. They both engage their media with dramatic, fluid and intuitive gestures. Armstrong immediate approach with dripping paint, and transparent layers of brushstrokes insinuate the quickly shifting flexes of muscle within the dynamic poses. The loose brushwork and transparent layers of color are offset by Miles’ definitive intention and deep concentration, the reiteration of his figure emphasizes the intensity of the dancer’s focus and drive. The tight focus on the figure within the confined space of the composition magnifies the tension of vulnerability and honesty. In the titular painting, “It Goes To Show” the subject makes direct eye contact. Armstrong casts Miles with one eye powerfully gazing back at the viewer, his dance provides a shield protecting the intimacy of his art.