A local artist is getting recognition in NYC

“New York City is a tricky place for artists. You want to show in the right place, at the right time, with the right people,” said Zachary Armstrong. “For someone in my shoes, Feuer/Mesler couldn’t be a better gallery.”

Armstrong’s story started a year and a half ago, when he had an exhibit in Los Angeles fueled by art collector Stefan Simchowitz. A friend of his from New York called and said she would be bringing some friends by to see the show. Armstrong was surprised that the “friend” was none other than Joel Mesler, owner of the Feuer/Mesler gallery on the lower east side of New York

“I’d been to Joel’s gallery before; a very nice place with a great reputation,” said Armstrong. “He was impressed with the show in L.A. and asked if I’d show with them the following year. I agreed immediately.”

That show in L.A. led to yet another coup; Jack Tilton showed up a few days later with his wife and a few clients. He bought Armstrong’s last work in the show, and also said he’d like to show his works in New York.

Armstrong said he had already agreed to a show at the Feuer/Mesler gallery, but Tilton indicated that “Joel loves me” and suggested doing two shows simultaneously. So Armstrong ended up presenting large abstracts at the Tilton Gallery May in the upper east side through June, overlapping his figurative paintings and collages at Feuer/Mesler on June 23-July 29 of last year.

Armstrong’s paintings are based on drawings he and his brother did growing up, or his son, Jackson, has drawn. He overlaps the same figure dozens of times, tweaking the composition and adding color during the final stages of a work. His figurative and collage work is whimsical and has a childlike innocence to it. Since his work has been recognized on both coasts, he’s been commanding a higher price for his works, in the range of $25,000 or more.

His dad, George Armstrong, validated their artwork growing up. He had an artist’s sensitivity because he was an artist himself, teaching at Fairborn High School and Stivers School for the Arts.

“I feel very fortunate not to have only shown in New York City, but to be working with two unbelievable galleries there that I have always respected,” said Armstrong, who maintains a 5,000-square-foot studio and gallery at the Linden Davis Building in Dayton.

Contact contributing writer Pamela Dillon at pamdillon@woh.rr.com.

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