PAM BROWN

ARTIST  STATEMENT

During the course of my career, I have focused primarily on sculpture. The large-scale works display my interest in industrial aesthetics and its uneasy relation with the fragility of human existence. The smaller sculptures – mostly tabletop and wall pieces – constructed of such materials as sheet metal, wire, wood, plaster, fabric and rubber, combine the uprightness and symmetry of the human body with animal and botanical imagery, and the familiar appearance of everyday forms with the strangeness of personified objects. Many of these sculptures are composed using thin skeletal elements to enclose space in an open structure to create a sense of inner and outer that permeates our psychological lives.

All of my sculptures employ a technique similar to the process of sewing, where sheet metal and wire replace fabric and threads. The needlework alludes to both "women’s work" and early industrial manufacturing. The association of industry and domesticity engages a sensibility different from the "heavy metal" approach to sculpture that dominates much of American modernism and carries a strong element of bravado. These works attempt to recapture a sense of manual facility, textural subtlety, and subjective affect within a sculptural tradition shaped by monumentality and muscularity. Through the process of suturing or stitching, I attach different elements, without actually negating the identity of the individual material. Such juxtaposition suggests the symbiotic coexistence of the conscious and the unconscious, surface and depth, reality and the unknown.

Much of my sculpture plays with the duality of matter and representation by addressing symbolic realities through physical form. In this reciprocity between matter and meaning, the essence of my sculptures gives way to numerous allusions to plant and animal life and to aspects of the human body, such as feet, hands, eyes, kidneys, flowers, and roots. These corporeal references frequently tangle with the materiality of sculptures as objects, echoing the coincidence of figurative and literal meaning in language. My sculpture speaks to the duality of human experience by presenting the world as a complex of objects and ideas that never quite converge.