Alicia Armstrong

Alicia paints memories, longings, dreams, and inconsistencies. A single work often incorporates the questions posed by contrasts - both literal and conceptual - and captures the inescapable and dichotomous realities of life: joy and suffering, light and dark, closeness and distance. At the same time she offers viewers relief via temporary respite rather than finite solutions.

Armstrong’s parents, both artists in their own rights, fostered her artistic nature and art was an important part of her childhood world. She holds a BFA with a concentration in Oil Painting from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and stood out early on as the winner of the Fine Art department‘s academic leadership award. After a decade working in traditional painting and photographic portraiture, she began to concentrate on producing more abstract work, pieces imbued with more symbolic imagery.


Her paintings are included in numerous private collections, as well as those of the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium and Asheville’s Bravo Concert Series. They also grace many gallery walls in Asheville and the southeast. She’s currently represented at Atlanta’s Gregg Irby Fine Art and Muse Fine Art, Gallery 17 in Greenville, North Carolina and Atelier Gallery in Charleston. She’s an active exhibitor also, and has been featured in multiple group and solo shows.


Her paintings are contemplative and sometimes playful takes on the often bewildering constructs and confines of postmodern life. Armstrong’s work is often figurative and segmented, influenced by both her life’s trajectory and the conundrums posed by the compartmentalization and overstimulation we experience daily. The vicissitudes and joys she observes appear often as well, from the complexity of familial bonds, like motherhood, to the beginnings and endings of relationships. 


Armstrong paints primarily on wood panels using graphite, oil, and charcoal; her process produces highly textural works, whose layers help convey the beauty and struggle of movement and transition. She captures moments, reflective and chaotic, by literally containing the image, with varnish. She’s a self-described “mark maker,” and her images resonate with a diverse group of viewers and collectors. It’s easy to identify with the figure whose bottom half is a wheel, as he engages in a Sisyphean struggle up a vaguely delineated mountain, with disembodied boats, seemingly floating toward an uncertain destination, siblings pushing and pulling at each other over a gulf, or a lifetime, or a woman pondering choices.

Armstrong’s canvases pose questions, yet inject comfort into discomfort; they encompass the archetypal play between light and dark, but encourage viewers to formulate their own answers, rather than attempt a “correct” interpretation. This openness is a hallmark of the artist and her work; she not only presents images and ideas, but intimates unspoken possibilities. 

Though she spends much time in her River Arts District studio, she’s also the mother of two, teaching art to children at Roots + Wings School of Art and instructing adults at the Asheville Community Design Lab.


High Strung
August 2012
The Intuitive Works
November 2012
'Here. After.' Upstairs Artspace Tryon, NC
'Here. After.' Upstairs Artspace Tryon, NC
March 2013