Finally, as viewers circle around the piece or if they tilt their heads to and fro there will be flicker in the eye, the result of the individual threads overlapping and causing a moiré pattern. Armstrong says this was accidental, but also says he should have anticipated that the overlapping threads, each spaced one-sixteenth of an inch apart, would cause this effect. The fact that the black threads are twice as wide as the white ones only adds to the delusory nature of the piece.
Armstrong's piece, however, should not be viewed as some kind of artistic parlor trick. Yes, it's amazing to look at for these reasons, but "Threads" is the culmination of years of work from one of San Diego's most talented and underrated artists. Ten years ago, he was working in Subway graffiti-inspired paintings, and, inspired by artists like Robert Irwin, he has steadily moved into site-specific installations.
To see this new work in the perfect time of day is truly awe-inspiring, but just make an appointment to see it before it's gone on Nov. 21, no matter the time of day.
"It's different," Armstrong says matter-of-factly, when asked what it's like to see "Threads" early in the morning or even late at night. "That's ultimately something that I hope to achieve with pieces like this. I love installations that, when you come upon them, they're fully formed. All your information is right there. There's no question of, 'What am I looking at? What is this?' It's all there, but the more time you spend with it, the more you can see."