The opening reception and an Artist Talk will be on November 19, as well as a Panel Discussion on January 7th, 2023.
Sara Garden Armstrong is a visual artist whose decades-long practice embraces a wide range of scales and techniques, from large site-specific sculpture to artist’s books. Lyrical, nature-based biomorphic abstraction characterizes the work, focusing on life processes and systems. It addresses organic change and transformation, while exploring properties of materials. Breathing is a major concern, as are mechanical support systems of the body. Other recurrent themes are water and time, with its elements of decay, chance, and shifts of reality.
Recent atrium commissions have focused on scientific phenomena and their interactions with the human condition such as the installation for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Alabama-Mississippi Chapter, at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Medical Center. A past recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation CALL (Creating a Living Legacy) grant through Space One Eleven, Armstrong has exhibited nationally and internationally for over 40 years. Her artist’s books can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others.
She received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama and a Master of Art Education from UAB. After living in New York City for 36 years, in 2017 she returned to Birmingham, where she currently lives and works.
This exhibition of drawings, paintings, sculpture, artist books and large
site-specific installations showcases both new and older work. It is the last stop for Armstrong’s traveling exhibition, Threads and Layers, which originated concurrently with the publication of her monograph of the same title. The Gadsden Museum catalog of the exhibition encapsulates the entirety of the traveling exhibition. Both monograph and catalog are available at the front desk.
In the main gallery, an early piece from 1979, Environment: Sound/Structure III, invokes the interaction of ritual and personal relationships via the use color, movement and sound. The accompanying drawings used to score the sound give insight into the artist’s creative process. On the opposite side of the gallery are sculptural pieces
dealing with breathing and life-support systems.
Off the main gallery are Littoral Drawings, in which Armstrong has captured a recording of time, as the water’s edge laps the shoreline, a moment never to be repeated. In the adjoining room, the multimedia installation Airplayer XVII consists of sculptural forms, projections, sound, air movement, and shadows painted directly on the wall. The work evokes growth and shifting reality. The remainder of the exhibition
consists of flatwork and a selection of Armstrong’s artist books. Drawing and painting serve as the foundation of her art practice.