PAMELA ELLIS HAWKES CASTS PALE SHADOWS
by J. Fatima Martins
There is something old and something new, something real and something ethereal, something true and something false about the simply complicated images made by Rockport artist Pamela Ellis Hawkes.
For over two decades, she’s studied the cycle of light and dark and tried to control its shadows. Her tools are various photographic methods and light-transformative, image-making techniques both ancient and modern. Her ways pay respectful homage to the great masters of photographic discovery and innovation of the past, while her final artistic forms, in black and white or vivid chromatic colors, are examples of a progression firmly seated within the contemporary trend in which different media and aesthetics are fused into an “alternative manner.”
In her world, two concepts meet: the tangible is transformed into fleeting experiences, and the fleeting is caged and frozen in time. While her visual subjects are places, landscapes and things (objects and vegetation), instead of people themselves, she writes, “to make a photograph you need a physical object. You can’t conjure it up from imagination.” The subtext of her art is human memory and perception; the work is, thus, about people and the illusions we create, or experiences we believe to have lived, and not about specific places or things.