Bob Armstrong

I paint the beauty and textural richness which I see around me: in beehives and honeycombs, in aged lacquer boxes, in the charred bark of tree trunks, and in aboriginal marks. The patterns and geometry of nature provide the structure for these paintings, and color is their lure.

I have fallen in love with wood, and the carving that it invites. It is the inspiration for my carved paintings that explore the textural variety of nature. Through carving I can continue my investigation of nature’s formal structures, and through paint I can lure the eye with highly focused color harmonies ranging from subtle grays to vivid, saturated color. This work is influenced by Japanese art and by the California Arts and Crafts movement, with their shared insistence on grace and compositional beauty.

The poetic impulse is also crucial, and the poet Pablo Neruda offers a telling insight: “Blossom and water and wheat kernel share one precious consistency: the sumptuous appeal of the tactile.”
It is this common but endlessly varied tactility that inspires me in my artwork.

Building: 101 - Studio: 1211
Phone: 415-515-8815
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Artist Bio

Artist Statement
I have lived in San Francisco for my entire life, and my paintings are deeply influenced by its natural beauty. This engagement with beauty carries over into my travels to other areas throughout the American West, and natural beauty is my inspiration in all of my work.
My art celebrates nature through hand carving on wood panels, because wood is an organic material that transports us directly into nature. In these panels, I explore three elements: pattern, texture, and color. I begin with a careful drawing of a plant or flower, and create an original pattern that relates to it. I place these in diptychs and triptychs, or in different sections in my panels, that play off one another to balance positive and negative shapes. I then carve, using hand tools, which gives my pieces strong texture.
Color plays an equally important role. With it, I reference the hues of the flowers, the seasons, and the patterns ever present in nature. I employ a minimalist, Japanese influenced aesthetic, engaging the eye with monochromatic color. I also use graphite, because I enjoy its metallic richness and optical qualities. Carving, design, painting and graphite combine into a meditation that guides viewers in a journey that calms and inspires. This is particularly important in a time where our modern scene is so hectic or stressful.
My concern with the environment is also central to my work. The importance of preserving and enhancing our natural environment is among the most pressing issues today. The world we live in needs protecting, and by emphasizing its beauty, I hope to call attention not only to what we have but what we might lose.
I display my work in outdoor art shows, at Open Studios, and at local galleries. In addition, my studio art also engages with the world through education. I work half time as the Art Coordinator at Buena Vista Horace Mann, a public inner city Kinder through 8th grade Spanish Immersion school in San Francisco’s Mission district. My daughters went there, and my job there for 20 years has been to ensure that all of the students receive a strong education in Dance, Music, and Visual Art. I use my connections as a San Francisco artist to help with this. I have collaborated with the art teachers there, the parents, the students, and with community artists in several murals that grace our building inside and out.


Recent Exhibition History:
March 2021 - SFWA Gallery "Patterns and Symmetry" (juried group show)
March 2021 - Marin Society of Artists "Artists Vision 2021" (virtual group show)
September 2020 - ArtSpan and Hunters Point Shipyard Open Studios
September 2020 - The Mission Kiss (Public Art Project, Mission District, SF)
December 2020 - Hunters Point Shipyard Virtual Holiday Market
May –June 2020 – Marin Society of Artists, “Expressions 2020” Exhibit (group)
February - March 2020 - Arc Gallery "48 Pillars 2020", SF (group show)
December 2019 - Heartfelt Pop-up Show, SF (group show)
May 2019 – Drawing Room Gallery, SF (solo show)
May 2019 (yearly since 2007) – Spring Open Studios - Hunter's Point Artists
January 2019 – Lola’s of San Francisco (solo show)
October 2019 (yearly since 2007) – Fall Open Studios - Hunter's Point Artists
October 2019 (yearly since 2007) - SOMARTS Gallery, Fall Open Studio Exhibit
July 2018 – LeeAnn Brook Gallery, Nevada City, CA (2 artist show)
January 2018 – Lola’s of San Francisco (solo show)
December – Jan. 2018 - Retrospective 10 (Group Show)-Inclusions Gallery SF
August 2017 – LeeAnn Brook Gallery, Nevada City, CA (2 artist show)
April - June 2017 - Wood, Metal, Memory (3 artist show) - Inclusions Gallery SF
October 2015, 2013, 2010, 2009 - Inclusions Gallery (group shows)
September 2014 – Art for AIDS – Metreon, SF (benefit)
November 2013 - 111 Minna Gallery, Chillin’ Productions (group pop-up show)
September – November 2013 – Presidio Landmark Apartments (solo show)
February - May 2013 – Ruth’s Table Gallery, “Art Teacher’s Art” (group show)
December 2012 - Berkeley Art Center Member Show, “Wonder” (group show)
August-November 2012 - Kabuki Theater (two person show)
November-January 2011/12 - SF Bar Association (solo show)
June-November 2011 - SF ARC Architectural Space (solo show)


Commissions and Public Art Engagement:
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, further purchase of 3 original carved paintings
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, purchase of 3 original carved paintings
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, purchase of an original carved painting
SF Art commission short list for 900 Innes Project consideration
Accepted for SF Art Commission Prequalified Artist Pool, 2019-20
California Pacific Medical Center St. Luke’s Mission/Bernal Hospital Campus, purchase of original carved painting
California Pacific Medical Center Van Ness Hospital Campus, purchase of three images of carved paintings reproduced digitally on glass for murals
SF Art Commission Southeast Health Center Expansion Art Project- finalist for glass partition design for interior area
“Arts Alive Ingleside” banner for Ocean Avenue, sponsored by OMI & SF Office of Economic and Workforce Development


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