Pamela Silver: The Colour of Light
An exhibition of prints and watercolour paintings – Opening 3rd Feb – 24 Feb
The University of Cape Town’s Irma Stern Museum is delighted to present Pamela Silver’s ‘The Colour of Light’. Pamela, born in Johannesburg and a graduate of the University of Cape Town, is an internationally acclaimed artist. She has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world. Her artworks are in the collections of Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Ben Uri Museum of Art, London; Tama Art Museum, Tokyo; Israel Museum; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington.
In her own words, Pamela is ‘an intuitive artist painting my dreams and experiences’. She ‘is inspired by nature and the colourful Jerusalem garden which surrounds our house and my studio.’ She adds, “My travels and the countries I have visited have inspired me too.’ Her paintings, ‘always start in nature, but transcend to different worlds, different levels of consciousness, memories, feelings, hopes, dreams, moments in time that keep returning.”
The exhibition features watercolours, etchings and monotypes spanning memories of more than fifty years: from her early childhood in Zimbabwe to her latest travels to Kolkata, Lithuania (home of her grandmother who sailed to Cape Town in the late 1880s) and Provence in France. The monotypes inspired by Zimbabwean hills, bushveld and Bushmen Rock Art, are placed in the small middle room of the exhibition. The space, for Pamela is a sanctuary ‘like a little cave’. The titles – ‘Carvings in Motobo Hills’ and ‘Drawings in Bushmen Caves’– crystallize the African memories.
Two larger rooms adjoin the ‘cave’. One room is filled with flower paintings – many from her personal collection have not been exhibited before. Series of large, vivid abstract watercolours fill the other room. Gideon Ofrat, veteran art historian, when he viewed her paintings in her Jerusalem exhibition, exclaimed I’m astounded [by] this burst of colourist joie de vivre and emanation of happiness.”
Almost every aspect of her work – from the smallest details such as spots of colour to the larger rhythms of brush strokes, patterns, changing colours and symbols – is marshalled to the same end: the surfacing of joy, memories, dreams and moments of time. We delight in her wide-ranging stylistic inflections as in the aquatints and in her flower paintings.
Flowers for Pamela, “have always been part of my creativity from a very early age … they gave me my sense of colour.”
The kaleidoscope of flower paintings – garden flowers, bright meadow flowers, bouquets – are tied together by sensuous colour, shapes, textures and light. Colour and light create and enhance the joyous ambience of the exhibition. Pamela Silver has the rare ability to “express such an abundance of happiness.”