“IT’S AN INSTANT IN TIME - SOMETHING I CAN’T RECREATE.
I’M LITERALLY DRAWING WITH COLOR AND LIGHT.”
by Barbara Guggenheim
Pamela Beck’s art practice is concerned with pushing the limits of abstraction. Her works are elegant, powerful, eye-popping, and optimistic; they’re distinctive at every turn. Through several series, she’s striven to capture light and motion. Following a successful career as a novelist, Beck approaches making art with the same interest in narrative that drove her forward in her former career, only she does it through visual means rather than words.
What look like formalist abstractions are much more. Beck is interested in exploring concepts of the unseen. She makes visible that which you cannot see - time and space, and motion becomes palpable in Beck’s ever-changing vocabulary of color and geometry. Like expansive American 19th century landscape paintings of the west, with their infinite expanse of open space, Beck’s works give you the sense that they, too, could go on forever, and she simply cuts them as an abbreviation. When viewing a diptych or triptych, hung with swathes of space between panels, you feel as if you’re reading a story which takes a pause before it continues.
It's fascinating the way you have to look at the work carefully to determine how they’re made, and even then, there’s an air of mystery. They may look like paintings, with their velvety surfaces, but they’re photos. Beck is secretive about her techniques, but she centers her work around photos she takes with an ingenious framing apparatus she’s created and assembled and a system of changing lights. Beck is like Edward Steichen, who waited patiently in the snow for hours for the right moment of light for his famous photo of the Flat Iron building. She does the same, often staying up into the small hours of the night waiting for the right moment to take the photo.
Despite making art for only a short time, Beck has succeeded in coming into her own quickly, creating a unique vocabulary that distinguishes her work from others. Her insistence on pushing the limits of abstraction enables her to develop one new series after another and an exciting new body of work year after year.
“If you’ve explored creating art of any kind,
you know that control is fleeting. Frustration. Fun.”
NOT SO HAPHAZARD
NOT SO HAPHAZARD and my pivot from writer to making art began abruptly. I’m reluctant to call it a “vision,” but one evening as my head touched the pillow, I saw in my mind what I wanted to see on my living room wall. I headed downstairs and began to play, on a quest for linear elements and a pristine background.
As I experimented with lighting and different times of day, I found myself playing with shadows and dimensionality, free-falling into a world of ideas that burst like popcorn in my head.
Finding an unexpected beauty in the randomness of the process, I called the series Haphazard. But then as I toggled between my natural compulsion for control and a fervent wish to let things fall as they may, I renamed the work Not So Haphazard. Some of the constructions resulted from gravity. Then I began tweaking, realigning, and finally building from scratch, one piece at a time, employing precision and balance. If you’ve explored creating art of any kind, you know that control is fleeting. Frustration. Fun.
Depending on the medium, there is an alchemy that can happen, transforming your original concept into something surprising and magical.
My artwork represents an equilibrium between chance and control, the harmony of linear lines, and the thrill of abstraction.
“light, color and movement — hallucinogenic abstractions composed of
linear lines, reflections, texture and trippy explosions of color.”
PSYCHEDELIC carries the viewer into a world of hallucinogenic abstractions composed of fantastical shapes, reflections, movement, and trippy explosions of color. A rainbow of fiery reds, juicy oranges, canary yellows, beach day blues, gaudy greens, whimsical purples, and hot pinks. I love to watch the colors merge and transcend the limits of their original hues. It’s an instant in time - something I can’t recreate. I’m literally drawing with color and light.
When people see my work they are extremely curious about my process, which in truth feels a bit like serendipity to me. I never know what I’ve captured until I upload and sift through the multitude of images, searching for that rare gem. Every time I shoot, something new and unexpected emerges. Perhaps it’s the time of day. Perhaps it’s the light I forgot to turn off, seeping through my doorway. Perhaps it’s the layer of material I added to enhance the texture and drama. Whatever it is, I find it exhilarating. The images are a manifestation of what can happen when you illuminate wild colors in the cloak of darkness.
That’s where the magic happens, ever evolving, with a landscape as vast and limitless as our imaginations.
“I began scouring fabric stores, mesmerized by the
endless possibilities contained within their jam-packed shelves,
bolts of intoxicating colors and textures.”
HAUTE COUTURE was inspired by a juried show to which I was submitting work, entitled Gossamer. I’d been experimenting with various fabrics and as a former dancer, the hot pink tulle I’d found set my imagination in motion, inspiring a dimensional twirl on a rich black background. That piece is called Ballerina and was selected for the exhibition.
I love fashion and with this new series, I began scouring fabric stores, mesmerized by the endless possibilities contained within their jam-packed shelves, bolts of intoxicating colors and textures which I have incorporated into my work.
Sumptuous silks, luxurious velvets, feathers dyed in flashy colors. I can’t wait to see where this series takes me. I think of the work as style abstractions, sensual, lyrical and romantic.
“a contemporary body of work, abstract,
voluptuous, alive with color and calm.”
FLOWER POWER was inevitable for me. My aunt was an artist, and her greatest passion was painting flowers. As a child, I cherished visits to her home where she would whisk me off to her crowded studio and show me all her latest creations. The tiny room was bursting with flower-filled canvases: sunflowers, roses, tulips, gardenias - all so vivid you wanted to pluck them off her canvases and inhale them.
As I began to tackle this series, I knew that I wanted to create a contemporary body of work, abstract, voluptuous, alive with color and calm. I began looking at flowers differently. It wasn’t going to be about arranging them in vases for a still life. Instead, I wanted to experiment. I started with vibrant backgrounds onto which I’d build a collage, aiming for dimension, grace, texture, and color, playing with angles and light.
How I wish my aunt were still here. She’d be overjoyed to see my “’Ode to Aunty Muriel.” Flower Power: a contemporary, sometimes otherworldly spin on blooms.
“When nature takes my breath away -
I want to capture the essence of that moment.
An abstract souvenir. A gift.”
INTO THE BLUE
INTO THE BLUE is a celebration of the sky, the sea, the sun and the rainbow of colors they produce.
I opened my window in the South of France one morning to gaze out at the glorious day and was struck by one of the most beautiful skies I'd ever seen. A blazing blue, with purple stirred in, making it almost periwinkle, with an airy landscape of clouds that looked sponge-painted, lovingly fashioned, a watercolor. Not for the first time. I thought to myself, there's simply no greater artist than nature or God or whatever power exists that creates the beauty that is the sky. It is artistry and performance art, constantly shifting and evolving, ever-original, no brushes needed, no paint - simply the sun, the wind, and the graceful movement of clouds.
When nature takes my breath away - I want to capture the essence of that moment. An abstract souvenir. A gift.
In life there will always be dreams, the promise of hope and magic with the dawn of a new day, beauty rising with the sun. That's what I strive for in my work - I want to reflect hope and joy.
Pamela Beck is a writer/producer whose novels include the New York Times best sellers Fling and Rich Men, Single Women. She has written screenplays as well as novels and has developed/produced various film and television projects, including the adaptation of one of her novels, Rich Men, Single Women for Aaron Spelling and ABC.
Pamela’s shift into working as a visual artist taps into her lifelong love of contemporary art, a passion for color, and the joy (and challenge) of creating.
Her art-making journey began with an empty wall she was on a mission to fill. As a long-time contemporary art collector, she visited her favorite galleries, looking for the perfect piece to fulfill her vision for the space.
She began seeing the work in her mind. As it came into sharper and sharper focus, she felt compelled to try and construct what she saw when she closed her eyes.
She began experimenting. She wanted white space. She wanted calm. She wanted linear lines. Visualizing her palette she saw white, black, shades of gray. A lone red.
As she watched her work grow and morph, it became all about color, light and imagination. The balance between chance and control. The elegance of linear lines and the endless potential of abstraction. The work became its own kind of storytelling.
Making art has become an obsession.
Pamela has had various works selected for multiple online exhibitions as well as in-person group shows. Her work is part of some very substantial collections.
All of Pamela’s works are available in various limited edition sizes.