Alicia Armstrong Chatham’s new body of work represents an adventurous departure from her previous series. Her new paintings, through a creative manipulation of materials and rare sensitivity to color and tone, are simultaneously abstract and boldly representational. What at first glance may appear to be washes of color that conclude with expressive, tactile features that end in drippings or dramatic concentrations of color, become suggestive of landscape, dramatic horizon lines, the interior of a rock formation, or even outer space. The application of materials she later removes to create hard lines also forms transparent layers, which lead viewers to wonder where these mysterious, but defined paths lead. Figures have often featured prominently in her work, but again, this series defies that pattern. Instead, viewers are left with more questions than answers, about the future, about destinations, and about what they are seeing. Organic tones of green, blue, and a warm red imbue these works, and contribute to the feeling that these scenes continue outside of each canvas’ confines.
Asheville's Alicia Armstrong paints memories, longings, dreams, inconsistencies. A single work often incorporates the
questions posed by contrasts - both literal and conceptual - and captures the inescapable and dichotomous realities of life: joy
and suffering, closeness and distance. At the same time she offers viewers relief via temporary respite rather than finite
solutions. Armstrong’s parents, both artists in their own rights, fostered her artistic nature and art was an important part of her childhood world.
She holds a BFA with a concentration in Oil Painting from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and stood out early on as the
winner of the Fine Art department‘s academic leadership award. After a decade working in traditional painting and photographic portraiture, she began to concentrate on producing more abstract works, pieces imbued with symbolic imagery. Armstrong’s canvases pose questions, yet inject comfort into discomfort; they encompass the archetypal play between light and dark. Her work often encourages the viewer to formulate their own answers, rather than attempt “correct” interpretation. This openness is a hallmark of the artist and her work; she not only presents images and ideas, but intimates unspoken possibilities.