The University of Cape Town’s Irma Stern Museum presents Pamela Silver’s ‘The Colour of Light’ exhibition from 3 February to 24 February 2018.
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 the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Ben Uri Museum of Art, London; Museu de Ague da Epal, Lisbon; Tama Art University Museum, Tokyo; National Gallery in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Israel Museum; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and the 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.’
Pamela Silver’s ‘The Colour of Light’
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, Bushmen Rock Art and the work of Zimbabwean Sculptor, Henry Munyaradzi, 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’, ‘Drawings in Bushmen Caves’, ‘Child’ and ‘Ode to Henry Munyaradzi’ – 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 colorist 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 below 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.’*
WHAT & WHERE: “The Colour of Light” at the UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town 7600
WHEN: from 3-24 Feb.
WALKABOUTS: 7, 17 and 24 Feb at 11am.
*From the monograph by Gideon Ofrat “In the Shade of the Jacaranda”
PHOTO: Flowers of Vilnius