BETH DIANE ARMSTRONG

BIOGRAPHY

BETH DIANE ARMSTRONG

(b. 1985 Nelspruit, South Africa)

Sculpture, for me, is a space to explore the feeling of one’s body in relation to an object. Functional objects quite obviously explore this relationship. What is functional or non-functional is debatable especially in this strange-expanding-spacescape of life. I believe there should always be room for the obvious and non-obvious in all things.

 I am always looking. I read mathematical, philosophical, scientific and medical books that go over my head. Seeking the big, grand, rushing feeling of grasping-and-not-grasping. Pushing always into the unknown. Whatever I am looking for, a fascination with density and looseness is the lens through which I see the world. It’s about how I physically and mentally feel on this earth: things are intense and then blunt, real and then unreal, meaningful and then meaningless. I am in this dynamic tension with my materials too. There is a give and take, a push and pull, an expansion and contraction – a density and looseness to working with steel. It takes a lot as it is a very demanding material: it’s heavy; it’s hot; it’s hard; it behaves unpredictably; it exhausts me. But it gives me so much back, in its permanence and reliability.

       - Beth Diane Armstrong 2017

WORK:

‘One of the leading contemporary South African sculptors of her generation, Beth Diane Armstrong captures a mastery of the steel medium.  Centered on contrasting variations of density and looseness Armstrong’s use of sculpture explores the different expressions of these two terms in relation to scale, structure, materiality, space, representation and process. 

Armstrong negotiates an unremitting pull between the desire to be entirely overwhelmed and subsumed by a sculpture and the drive to resolve and contain the idiosyncratic challenges posed by it. A central ambition which continues to inform Armstrong’s process is the translation of fleeting, abstract experiences into the permanence of a physically demanding material such as steel.

Beginning as thought experiments, the works evolve according to a set of parameters which the artist prescribes. Armstrong develops these parameters on the level of underlying structures (calculations, measurements) and through the higher level realizations of the works as sculptural structures, maintaining a synchronous relationship to both aspects. These meticulous processes, her attention to detail and her astounding ability to effortlessly switch between intricate smaller works and imposing large-scale masses of steel reaffirms Armstrong ambitions to grapple with and understand the ways in which bodies experience space and translate this experience into structures, both perceptual and physical’.

Tim Leibbrandt 2017

BIOGRAPHY:

Currently living and working in Johannesburg Beth Diane was born in South African in 1985. In 2010, she completed, with distinction, her Masters of Fine Art at Rhodes University. Rhodes bought her BFA exhibition, Hibernation, for their permanent collection. Armstrong has partaken in several solo exhibitions, a number of group shows and projects locally and internationally, as well as being included is various private and public collections. Some recent highlighted commissions include the completion of a large permanent public artwork Flag in Oostvoorne, in the Netherlands, commissioned by the Kern Kunst Westvoorne Foundation and her most recent Page for National English Literary Museum, a 10-ton outdoor sculpture, in Grahamstown, South Africa. Armstrong was awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2017- Visual Arts in South Africa for 2017.

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

 
2019
Southern Aspect - A Group Exhibition, Everard Read, London, UK
 
2018
in perpetuum, NWU Gallery, Potchefstroom, South Africa
in perpetuum, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa
in perpetuum, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
in perpetuum, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

2017

in perpetuum, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
in perpetuum, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
in perpetuum, Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2017, Monument Gallery, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

2011
Towards an architecture of loss, iArt (BRUNDYN+), Cape Town, South Africa
To skip the last step, iArt Gallery, Wembley Project Space, Cape Town, South Africa

2010
Hippocampus, iArt Gallery, Cape Town; Rehearsal Room, Grahamstown, South Africa

2007
Hibernation, Gallery in the Round, Grahamstown, South Africa

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017
FNB Joburg Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
CTAF Cape Town Art, Everard Read /CIRCA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2016  
Bronze, Steel, Stone, Everard Read Gallery, London, United Kingdom
FNB Joburg Art Fair, Everard Read /CIRCA Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Summer Season, CIRCA Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Pastoral Abstraction, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
A Place in Time, in association with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park United Kingdom, curated by Helen Pheby, NIROX Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
CTAF Cape Town Art, Everard Read /CIRCA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2015
Christie’s Design Auction, in association with the Southern Design Guild, London, United Kingdom

2014
Design Miami, Southern Guild, Miami, Florida, USA
The Benediction of Shade II, David Krut Projects, Johannesburg, South Africa
FNB Joburg Art Fair, David Krut Projects, Johannesburg, South Africa
Design Miami/Basel, Southern Guild, Basel, Switzerland
NIROX Winter Show, NIROX Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
Turbine Hall Art Fair, David Krut Projects, Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
Joburg Joburg, Rooftop in Commissioner Street, Johannesburg, South Africa
Guild, Southern Guild, Cape Town, South Africa

2013
Southern Guild 2013 Collection, MOAD, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Benediction of Shade, David Krut Projects, Cape Town, South Africa
After the Rainbow Nation, NIROX Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

2012
Material/Representation, BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, Cape Town, South Africa
FNB Joburg Art Fair, BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, Johannesburg, South Africa

2010
Summer in the City, iArt Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
NOVUS, iArt Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Make A Difference (MAD) Foundation Exhibition, iArt Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
The Mechanics and Mysteries of Perception, iArt Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Johannesburg Artfair, iArt Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2008
Absa L’atelier Competition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2007
Absa L’atelier Competition, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Fourth Year Student Show, Fine Art Building, Grahamstown, South Africa
Untitled, Salem House, Salem, South Africa

2006
Rhodes Fine Art Dept Student Show, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

2005
Rhodes Fine Art Dept Student Show, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

2004
Rhodes Fine Art Dept Student Show, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa

RESIDENCIES

2013
NIROX Sculpture Park, NIROX Foundation, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa

EDUCATION

2010
Master of Fine Art, with distinction, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

2007
Bachelor of Fine Art, graduated cum laude, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

SELECTED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

The Leeu Collection, Franschhoek, South Africa
National English Literary Museum Grahamstown, South Africa
Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Standard Bank of Southern Africa
Kern Kunst Westvoorne Foundation, the Netherlands

COMMISSIONS/AWARDS

2017
Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2017 - Visual Arts, South Africa

2016
Page, outdoor sculpture, NELM, Grahamstown, South Africa

2014
Flag, flagpole sculpture commission for Kern Kunst Westvoorne Foundation, the Netherlands

2011
3 Sculptures for Prescient Investment Management Group’s first major advertising campaign, Cape Town, South Africa

2010
Not all is Black and White, All for World Foundation, FIFA World Cup Initiative
Academic Honors, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

2008
Purvis Fine Art Prize, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

2005
Golden Key International Honor Society, South Africa

CONFERENCES

2009
Locating Space: An Investigation into Two and Three Dimensions in Art Practice, Rhodes University Interdisciplinary
Postgraduate Conference, Grahamstown, South Africa

PUBLICATIONS

2017
in perpetuum Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2017, catalogue in association with Everard Read / CIRCA Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2010
Hippocampus: Seahorse; brain-structure; spatial map, concept, Master’s Thesis, Rhodes University, South Africa