Monday, May 23

Topography of a Swim + Rosemary Beach + Karina Bania is my soul sister

So excited to tell you all about my new show "The Topography of a Swim" at @seacontemporary in collaboration with the incomparable @karinabania Opening on May 19th. I'll be there, and so will Karina (can't wait!!) #michellearmas #rosemarybeachfl #poolpaintings
"The imprints that Armas’ acrylic washes leave on the psyche are long-lasting. Utterly atmospheric, this series conveys a sense of ephemerality, as if air or water, has been momentarily captured and held between the frame. In a pursuit of spatial possibilities, swaths and plumes emphasize the literal expanse of the picture plane while suggesting infinite, explorable spaces behind it.

The movement of the artist’s acrylic washes and its spectrum of saturation to transparency are part of the works’ subject matter. These expanses of pigment are visual evidence of the liquid flow of paint – how it drips, pools, stains and runs to the edge. Even the absorptiveness or resistance of the surface, how the acrylic pools are held by the canvas, becomes a component of the picture.  

Armas works from instinct, producing an extraordinary output that is both vital and ever-changing. It is in this new series that the artist’s treatment of color on the two-dimensional picture plane is brought to its most nuanced effect. Palpable but subtle, this definitive new collection places Armas among the most striking of contemporary art’s colorists." 

Isn't that dress so pretty? It's from my favorite lady Elizabeth Suzann, just in case you wanna copy me. I met Karina in person for the first time at the roof top bar of the Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach. We had just driven in and I was so eager to meet her in person, and of course I knew her the moment I clapped eyeballs on her. We just started chatting and laughing and we never stopped. Her very sweet, outgoing husband and O hung out together and compared notes on having artist wives. I am glad O has someone to commiserate with!

I know you are going to ask, so let me just tell you that Karina's beautiful earrings are Annie Costello Brown, and her jumpsuit is from here

I was so inspired seeing our paintings together, I knew that it was going to be so beautiful and magnetic to have my pool paintings and Karina's amazing, spare works hanging together but I couldn't have imagined just how arresting it was to fill the gallery with these pieces and then sit back and experience it all. For the last year, or more I have been craving something more with my work, and am making plans to move away from my standard order of business and try something different for me. I was floundering so much and waiting for a sign, waiting for that aha moment when I thought hey why don't I just create what I want? So I contacted Jennifer at Sea Contemporary Art Space and I proposed the idea for this show. Jennifer curated our pieces, and pulled out our best work, as she always does, and then perfectly placed each piece to draw the viewers eye around and around. I almost cried from joy when I waked into the space, and then on top of all of that I got to spend the evening with Karina, a woman I knew deep down in my soul that I would connect with in a meaningful way. We spent the weekend, we two couples, enjoying each other's company and I had that feeling like I was living a moment I would remember; a moment I would talk about in my future and it would fill me with fondness and warmth. The older I get, the more people I meet, the greater demands on my time, I see how rare that feeling truly is and how special it is as well.

The rest of the time in Rosemary with O was just soothing, and calm and peaceful. We had lingering breakfasts and swam in the sun-soaked placid green waters of the gulf. We saw stingrays and beautiful bits of coral and algae and dug our toes in the sand (so cozy). We sat on the shore as the sun went down and talked about our plans for this year and beyond (we have a lot going on, and its very exciting and also scary). My mom and dad took care of our sweet Aliboo while we were away and we missed her so much, but I knew that I wanted to have time to spend with Karina and her husband and we made the right choice. 

My mom sent me this photo of Aliboo eating watermelon "sandia" in the tub and it just stayed with me the whole time, in my heart. Her sweet face. Heart Eyes!

Drinking, and swimming and shopping and looking at art and eating nice seafood and chatting with people and sleeping in. Not too shabby.


  1. Hey! I am a regular "checker backer" here on armasdesign.blogspot dot com and this post is so worth the wait and wonderful to see!!! What an amazing show and what an amazing writeup!! I thought your "pool paintings" were meant to be hung by the pool.... hahaha, now I know the name is in their making. :) Anyway, really great to get an update and I have to say woman, "well done!!!!" Love to see what is coming next in your something new category. Also nice to meet Karina... after seeing her comment on Instagram, the little bit that I see/follow it. Your works complement each other's so well! Thanks for the peaceful beach break and reporting from Rosemary Beach (which I'd never heard of). I live on the beach in northern Baja California now, but our beach is not as tranquil and aqua green. How did you connect with Sea Contemporary Gallery is I may ask? Thanks again for a great post... cheers and ciao!

  2. So glad to read about your idea for the exhibit & this wonderful collaboration. Your work compliments Karina's so well, I wish I could see it in person. Great post my dear!


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