Pamela Speight - Visual Artist

Artist Statement

If asked about the source of my work, I would say that it is about our relationship with the whole of nature. It records the meeting of my inner thoughts with the outer world. For me the process of making art is exploratory. By means of intricate layering and palpable texture, I seek to create a sense of bold physicality as well as delicate nuances. When applying multiple layers, I selectively obscure and reveal. This results in many color and shading variations, achieved not only by adding materials but also by scratching, cutting, wiping or erasing. By doing so, a paradoxical archaeology occurs, as though digging down at the same time as building up. This layering process and working by successive addition and subtraction gives my two dimensional work, if not a three dimensional quality, at least a difficult to categorize sense of depth, and an aesthetic exploration of the unseen.


I observe and record growth and decay. I document places and things that change over time, as well as small events that occur in an instant. I have a fascination for that which often goes unnoticed, for what occurs beneath our feet, perhaps on a forest floor, or deep underground or underwater. I am interested in making the unseen visible. As air currents move across the surfaces of bodies of water cause fleeting ripples to occur, they create patterns that are also subject to the influence of undercurrents below. Air and water, our life support, are in constant flux. 


At times I reference curious objects and old biological illustrations I happen upon and use as source materials. I will sometimes combine botanical and zoological creatures into mysterious new forms. I also examine the human compulsion for discovery, which has unfortunately had the undesirable side-effect of invasion, exploitation and destruction. In this sense my work speaks of both presence and absence, vulnerability and strength, wildness and loss. We need to accept that some mysteries should be allowed to remain hidden and out of our sphere of control.


My work journeys into conceptual territories yet is grounded in earthly experience. There are elements of eroticism that are not always obvious, yet they reference the body and show my interest in the relationship between visibility and concealment. At times this extends to contrasting what is familiar and comforting with territories that are unfamiliar and dangerous. Because of its connection to instinct, desire, memory and nature it could be called, if it had to be categorized, sensual abstraction. It invites the viewer to revel in the enigma of life.


Increasingly my work is informed by the complex and diverse ways in which we consider and interact with biological and human-constructed environments, and with other species. We have isolated ourselves from the rhythms of nature and to survive must re-examine our perceptions of our place within it. The notion of being separated from wilderness and our own wildness must be called into question. We present-day humans have become strangers to our own life-supporting ecology. I like to think of my work as a way for me to illustrate this collective separation, yet also trace possibilities for reconnecting the severed umbilical cord between us and planet Earth, our only home.


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