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Art Box exhibit focuses on figures

Published: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

“Focus on Figures,” original water-based oil paintings by Carmen L. Armstrong, will be on display at The Art Box, 308 E. Lincoln Highway in downtown DeKalb, Oct. 1 through 27. A reception for the artist is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 7.

Armstrong is a professor emeritus at the Northern Illinois University School of Art.

“Coloring books, art student, artist, art educator-professor-author and artist again. That says it in a nutshell,” Armstrong said in a news release. “It would take a book to credit the wonderful family and human influences that opened doors for me to pursue the force that compelled me toward a career in art.”

Armstrong said as a student she was impressed by the patterning of Matisse, the imposing yet tender figures of children by Picabia, the color, related use of negative space and comfortable figures of Gauguin, the interaction of colors by Anuszkiewicz, the precise contours of Ingres and the effective use of the brush stroke of Burchfield and Van Gogh.

Her work frequently involves interaction between human figures and objects in their environment. Sometimes the painting makes a social or political comment. Sometimes it asks the viewer to appreciate a truth about people, nature or life by confronting the viewer with close-up views that can be easily overlooked in the hurry of life. Sometimes form is suggested through precise contours of figures or plants, but sometimes the contours are emphasized for compositional purposes. Exaggeration may occur by heightened color or contrast. Even silhouettes may accent the attitude of the figure. Conscious change of a pattern as it crosses over form in a painting and incorporating unexpected objects or situations may push a point or be added for compositional reasons.

Armstrong received a diploma from Fort Wayne Art Institute, attended classes at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University and has the required studio classes for a masters in painting. She has exhibited her paintings in New York, Indiana, Illinois and Arizona and received numerous awards for her work as an art educator and for her work as an artist.

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