LR lamp

S. E. Armstrong,

The Lamp of Postmodernism, rubber stamp print on paper, 4.5″ x 6″, 1999

S. E. Armstrong was born in Toronto, Canada in 1951 and lived there until moving to Belleville, Ontario in 1986. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, now OCAD University, in Toronto. He studied with Royden Rabinowitch, Murray Favro, Greg Curnoe, Ron Martin and Gary Dault. Armstrong has exhibited regularly in commercial, parallel, co-op and public galleries in Canada and the United States since 1977. He edits and publishes a journal of artists’ projects called Wegway Primary Culture which is hibernating at the moment but will awaken soon in both paper and electronic versions. His writing has been published in Canadian art magazines such as Espace and Lola.

Armstrong has had an abiding interest the Russian avant-garde and dada since adolescence, and he remains especially fond of Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin, Hannah Höch, and Kurt Schwitters. He believes there are still some loose ends to be considered in the work of the American Action painters (Harold Rosenberg), also called Abstract Expressionists (Clement Greenberg) – Pollock and Still in particular. These loose ends have nothing to do with either Expressionism or Formalism and may also have very little to do with Pollock and Still’s opinions about their own work, “What you see is what you see,” as Frank Stella pointed out. Armstrong’s friend since the 1970’s, John Scott, thinks Armstrong’s a Modernist, but Armstrong strongly disagrees. He also forgives John for considering such a thing.

Armstrong thinks Arthur Cravan’s writing is very charming and funny; Tristan Tzara‘s prose is better poetry than anything Ezra Pound produced; Edgar Varèse‘s music is perfectly moving; and he has the deepest respect for Ad Reinhardt’s ethics. This last point helps explain his fierce opinion that Braque is a superb painter and Picasso is a thief and a charlatan. And all of the above helps explain John Scott’s opinion. It was T. S. Eliot’s opinion that we have to embrace our tradition, whatever it may be, before we can move forward. Armstrong thinks radical is about roots.

Wm. F. Krendall, Wegway’s mysterious advisor.

I suggest you check out @tlas press for some interesting tradition.

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