There is nothing
still about Pamela Wolfe’s flower paintings as she reinvents this still life
subject in a contemporary manner. Posies of peonies, poppies, orchids and roses
burst forth from a rich velvety blackness, seeming to nearly spill out of the
picture frame. There is an almost unsettling insistence of movement in Wolfe’s
paintings as each bud jostles for attention in the crowded arrangements, and
one feels like they may have only just missed that moment where the wind
stirred the rose’s petals, or when bud unfurled to full bloom.This sentiment is echoed in Pamela
Wolfe’s choice of titles such as Hush, Rustle, Whisper and Blush.
arrangements emphasise the quality brushwork for which the artist is known,
while her rich saturated palette, filled with crimsons, corals, pinks and
purples, enhances the luscious nature of the subject.
That Pamela Wolfe
has stepped down slightly in canvas size from her previous two exhibitions has
not taken away from the striking intensity of her paintings.Each work still manages to envelop the
viewer and the monumental scale of each blossom offers that enchanting and
consuming perspective of staring through a microscope.
In her current
work, Wolfe has been influenced by Gerhard Richter's photopaintings, where he
replicated a photographic image in paint, incorporating the camera’s ‘blur’
effect. Richter’s approach offered both a photographic appearance, while
testifying to the painter’s actions and the plastic nature of paint
itself.Pamela Wolfe’s incorporation
of the photographic blur caused by a shallow depth of field adds an intensity
and dynamism to the flowers in the foreground, while emphasizing the flowers
delicate nature in the soft fuzziness of the receding petals.
Wolfe’s paintings have often been compared to the Dutch
vanitas paintings, with the artist mimicking their dark backgrounds and layer
of drama. However, in contrast to the symbolic message underlying vanitas
paintings in regards to the transient nature of existence, Wolfe’s paintings
celebrate the present and the beauty of life.