Bill Armstrong and Milan Fano Blatný at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

It may take a four hour drive up the most frustratingly congested highway on the eastern seaboard to get there, but let me tell you, this exhibition in the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is worth it. Armstrong, an American, and , from the Czech Republic present bold works based on the ancient meditative form of the mandala, a map for spiritual navigation. Armstrong’s work is non-objective, characterized by large swaths of highly saturated which he arrives at by setting his camera’s focusing ring to infinity. Blatný’s work is arrived at using a non-digital process in which he rotates the original image around the picture plane, referencing the mandalas symmetrical, “endless” form. Most of his pieces are titled after the site where the original image was captured. The work of both artist’s can only be described as breathtaking.

Armstrong's Mandala 453

Armstrong's Mandala 453

Blatny's Hannover

Blatný's Hannover

Traditional Mandala

Traditional Mandala

One of Blatný’s works, entitled Wolfsburg, after the city in Germany, was an image I found to be particularly noteworthy. When one examines it closely, the unmistakable shape of a Swastika begins to emerge from the quadratic form in the center of the composition.

Blatný's Wolfsburg

Blatný's Wolfsburg

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