Untitled 1-09

Pamela Wilson-Ryckman

28 December 2009

Watercolour on paper 53 x 76 cm.

The car bomb is an established reality in today’s society. Since its emergence in the 1920s, it has steadily increased its presence and perfected itself in the fissures created by the ethnic and religious conflicts reactivated by globalisation. This symbol of a “motorised apocalypse”, as Mike Davis has defined it, is reinterpreted by Pamela Wilson-Ryckman as part of a process of updating historical painting.

  • A.M.

Current events, violence, history painting and, on a more subjective level, the mere act of looking, are themes that weave through my most recent work. Individually, each of these themes emerges, recedes and aligns itself as the focus of interest in each of the pieces. They are expressed in a language that is itself influenced by abstract modernist painting and the aesthetic sensibility that is more characteristic of ancient Chinese and Japanese painting. I am most interested in the dialectic that is generated by using a fragile, delicate and expressive medium in conjunction with aggressive and violent images of great intensity. If successful, the end result is a reflective vision of the chaos and immediate stillness that follows a turbulent and catastrophic event. My aim is to impose an emotional and visual tension that can subsist between the explosive nature of the image and a compensatory calm or stillness. The images that make up this exhibition focus on the phenomenon of car bombs. My intention is not commemoration or memorial, but to explore the possibilities that remain for historical painting in a media culture of fleeting and ephemeral images.