Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming solo exhibition Alone, Together, featuring Toronto-based artist Erin Armstrong, on view online in virtual reality through the Grove Collective website from September 16th to October 12th. This is the first time that Grove Collective has worked with Armstrong, and marks the first time the gallery has worked with a Canadian artist.
There is something resembling a bait-and-switch in Erin Armstrong’s work; luring the viewer in using humanoid forms, her works dissolve into cohesive scenes far from the portraiture they compositionally resemble. Indeed, the figures throughout her works aren’t individuals so much as archetypes, vehicles for a sentiment that lingers on the canvas. Armstrong herself has noted that she paints towards the intersection of fear and calm, arriving at a visual language for despondency and isolation, often in settings of natural lushness; a juxtaposition that is deeply atmospheric, as opposed to overtly personal.
However, therein lies the magic of Armstrong’s work: while the scenes themselves are non-specific, they speak to human commonalities which affect us all, thus having the ability to be both general and personal to the viewer. In spite of (or perhaps because of) the figures lacking distinctive features, or indeed identities, the viewer is given the opportunity to find themselves, or more movingly, their emotional interior, in each piece. It is this ability to be both universal and specific which grants Armstrong’s paintings a magnetic allure, equal parts foreign and reflective to its audience.
Regarding curation, Grove Collective is excited to expand its program of international artists, using Alone, Together to spearhead an increasingly diverse autumn program. Having been founded as a space to host ambitious, international art from a range of practitioners, this presentation of Armstrong’s work further realises the gallery’s mission, while opening up further opportunities to engage with North American artists, galleries, and collectors.