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Pam Douglas Evokes Earth’s Transformative Force in “The Life of Fire†Show at TAG Gallery at Bergamot Station

Award-winning painter, writer and professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Pam Douglas, launches the second in a trilogy of art shows inspired by earth’s primal energies—Water, Fire and Wind. “The Life of Fire,†will be at TAG Gallery in Bergamont Station (2525 Michigan Avenue D3 in Santa Monica) July 17, 2012 through August 11, 2012 and features Douglas’ original paintings that evoke the transformative power of fire.

“Fire is second in a 3-part series–Water was Part One and Wind will be Part Three,†states Pam Douglas, whose previous exhibits include The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) sales and rental gallery, juried shows at TarFest, i-5 Gallery at the Brewery Art Complex, and The California Open. Her pieces are in private collections throughout the country.

In “The Life of Fire,†Douglas will exhibit 10 paintings. Five of the pieces use inks and acrylic on raw linen mounted loosely to enhance the fabric’s natural texture. The other half are multi-layered transparent plastics.

According to Douglas, painting fire led to transforming how she works and introducing surprising new media such as transparent plastic and plexiglass. She says, “The change to sharp edges and the way plastic warps when wet or glued was outside of my comfort zone. But I had challenged myself with interpreting the essence of fire, and there was no way the spirit of fire was going to settle down. The subject pushed me to explore and defy boundaries about the kinds of paintings I do. It’s been difficult, and through making me try new materials that react differently with paint, fire ‘burned through’ my pre-conceptions and forged something new.â€

Key pieces include:
– Redemption (36 x 58″, mixed media, plastics in plexi box): emanating from a dark heart of blues and black, flames reach upwards and fan out through reds culminating in tips of yellow and white. Since this piece is constructed with cut strips of thin, transparent plastic, the forms ripple in a way that bounces light. Uplift–the transformation from darkness to light–was my visceral urge while creating the piece, and that’s what I mean by the title “Redemption,” bringing enlightenment or possibilities from what was past.

– Flying Fire (28 x 61″, acrylic on raw linen, framed) is an exuberant expression of richly textured hues, where the red spectrum is underscored by touches of brilliant blue. Set against the black ground, it says that energy cannot be suppressed. In terms of the series, this painting is a “rhyme” with “Flying Water” from last year’s show, and is the same size and medium as the earlier piece. Expect “Flying Wind” in 2013.

– Rite of Passage (52 x 23″, mixed media, plastics mounted in plexi) is the only piece in the show that refers to an object on fire–all the others are abstracted interpretations of the idea of fire. The white circular area at the bottom, made of ink and acrylic on paper, suggests the bones of a building arranged in a rhythmic pattern of black lines. Rising from it are red plastic flame-like forms, reaching up in an abstracted pattern. My intention was not to depict a structure on fire — it was more a matter of experimenting with shapes and mixed mediums in an interesting graphic. The title “Rite of Passage” refers to the series theme of transformation: as one thing dies another is born.

– The Eternal Beginning (diptych; acrylic on raw linen, framed; 28 x 52″) is about transformation; just as the sun and moon go through cycles, so does life on Earth. We are perpetually renewing or understanding that endings are not final, or having the courage to begin again after an eclipse in your life. This is the idea that the sun will shine again and that a new beginning is always possible.

– Spirit of Fire (50 x 35″, mixed media, plastics mounted in plexi) is the only entirely transparent piece in the show. Layers of transparent plastic ripple on a transparent surface creating an ephemeral work that expresses the flight of spirit as it burns off incarnation. The small pale birds at the top also suggest the flight of spirit released from place and time.

“Shared Thread†Exhibition at California African American Museum at Exposition Park (June 28 – December 30, 2012)
A commentary from the ancient Chinese book I Ching weaves between Douglas’ seven paintings on a 20′ wall in the main entry. She is joined by five other artists in the “Shared Thread” exhibit that will be up for 6 months. The installation includes paintings from her 2011 show “The Life of Water†:

Three Special Events for “The Life of Fireâ€
• Saturday, July 21st 5:00pm – 9:00pm: Pam Douglas will be at the Artist’s Opening Reception at TAG Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, which will also include solo shows by two other local artists. Event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, July 25th 7:00pm: Artists Q&A Panel, a discussion among the three artists moderated by Ezrha Jean Black, art critic and writer at Artillery Magazine. Event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, August 4th 4:00pm – 7:00pm: a wine tasting event to benefit Safe Passages where Douglas’ Water Blessing painting from last year’s The Life of Water show will be auctioned off to benefit the charity. Safe Passages’ mission is to advocate for children, youth, and families with a special emphasis on vulnerable populations; it envisions a community where all young people have the opportunity to realize their full potential (www.safepassages.org). Open to the public; cost $35.00.

For more information about TAG: www.taggallery.net.
For more information about Douglas: www.PamDouglasArt.com.
Spirit is Transparent  (50 x 35', mixed media, plastics mounted in plexi)
The Eternal Beginning (diptych; acrylic on raw linen, framed; 28 x 52')

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