CONRAD ERIC ARMSTRONG (USA/CZ) – Paper Thin Diary

Exhibition

Friday, October 8, 2021 at 5:00 PM


Conrad Eric Armstrong (1980) is a Kenya-born U.S. citizen who has lived and worked in the Czech Republic since 2004. Conrad studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and earned his master's degree in Jiří David's studio of Intermedia Confrontation at UMPRUM in Prague. He currently teaches art at the Prague British International School, is a curator and board member at Villa P651 in Prague, is the tutor of the Visual Arts master's program in English at UMPRUM, and is an artist-in-residence at Meet Factory, Prague.


Conrad's work is concerned with the distinctions and similarities between things, with cause and effect, and by the relations thereof across time and space. Some of his works employ mnemonic techniques to visually encode sets of information, while others use visual linkages to create interrelated arrays of images. Often, he also uses aspects of verbal and visual storytelling that may either have clear narrative content (e.g. the history of King Philip’s War in colonial New England) or that may more obliquely imply stories through the juxtaposition of elements. Conrad works primarily in painting and drawing, but also employs sculpture, installation, and (occasionally) performance into his works.


Paper Thin Diary is a journal that I began keeping in 2019. In these pages, I sought to record my experiences during a time of flux in my life (most importantly the last stages of my mother’s life and her eventual passing). In creating this work, I was interested in adhering to certain formal rules in order to achieve a stylistic consistency as well as to explore the possibilities within the limitations I set myself. Such “rule setting” is something I use frequently in my work and, in this case, provided comfort in a time of uncertainty. The limitations I applied to myself consisted of the strict use of black Micron pens and standard Canson brand sketchbook paper, close attention to typography, the use of the pages in their entirety, and a certain oblique approach to the depiction of my thoughts and experiences (the most difficult “rule” to follow). The result of that last limitation means that although small parts of the journal read as a clear narrative, most of it is rather a juxtaposition of words and pictures that functions more as a poem than it does as a clear story.

The first twenty pages of the diary are presented here, but it continues to be a work in progress.