NEO – GEO – CLASSICISM :
combines the following tenets of Neoclassicism with and expressed through geometric abstraction:
1. a regard for tradition and reverence for the classics, with an accompanying distrust of innovation
2. a sense of literature as art--that is, as something "artificed" or "artificial," made by craft; hence the value put on "rules," conventions, "decorum," the properties of received genres.
3. a concern for social reality, and the communal commonplaces of thought which hold it together.
4. a concern for "nature"--or the way things are (and should be). This relates back to the distrust of innovation and inherent conservatism of neo classicism. The artistic rules of old, for instance, Pope describes as having been "discovered, not devised" and are "Nature methodized"; so too, "Nature and Homer" are "the same" (Essay on Criticism 88ff., 135). This belief in "nature" implies a conviction that there is a permanent, universal way things are (and should be), which obviously entails fundamental political and ethical commitments.
Born in Nice during a period of Existentialist post-war France, Serge Armando, from his earliest days, was steeped in a backdrop of the blue skies of la Côte d’Azur. From proximity, his way was ushered into first hand experience with Flux and Les Nouveaux Realists.
In 1989, Armando accepted a position at Laguna Art Museum as Exhibition Designer. His first assignment, "Turning the Tide," an exhibition of early Los Angeles Modernists, introduced him to the spiritually-charged abstract works of Peter Krasnow and the hard-edged geometric works of John McLaughlin.
Artist and scholar Michael McManus said this of Armando, "Frontal, blunt, and totemic, [Armando’s] works confront viewers as primal plus-minus icons, but are also perceptually elusive in how they activate the viewer’s peripheral vision. Their workman-like massing of precise, flat, polychromatic acrylic, creates an arresting abstract yet pictorial arena. Like many pure abstract artists of the late twentieth century, Armando regards the non-objective as a visual language–still in its infancy–whose potential equals that of representation." In this way, Armando’s works are invitations for viewers to impose upon them their own visual idiolects, complete with their own experiential lexicons which have arisen from the viewers’ own distinct inventories of “heres” and “nows”.
Armando’s latest works are, as always, iconic and kinetic. The works document his lifelong immersion in competitive systems of organization. Each work of the series propagates squarely steadfast abstract geometric immediacy.
Over his forty-year-plus residence in Laguna Beach, Armando has played a decisive role in the careers of significant area artists and gallery owners. His works have exhibited in key local galleries and museums, and have sold to some of Southern California’s most distinguished collectors of contemporary art. His 2005 first place showing at Laguna Art Museum’s twenty-third annual art auction is testimony to his continued impact and import on the local art scene.
interview/article written by Michael Stice, Laguna Beach