A New Sense of Place

In the media: A New Sense of Place, Contemporary Western landscape is not an oxymoron, by Jeannette Boner, February 23rd, 2016, Jackson Hole Magazine.

Elemental by Pamela Gibson, 48” x 36”PORTLAND TRANSPLANT PAMELA Gibson always starts a painting by studying a photograph she has taken in the landscape. She then begins sketching. “In the underpainting there is a realistic sketch as I try evoking the feeling I get thinking about the landscape,” she says.

Gibson’s finished work is fully abstract; any use of a photo is unrecognizable once a piece is complete. “There is a lot of metaphor in landscape,” she says. “Most of my paintings are unrecognizable. You can’t look at my paintings and define it.” While you wouldn’t know if a painting of Gibson’s was of the view from her front yard or something on the National Elk Refuge, it doesn’t matter. She seeks to extract mood and feeling in viewers and create emotion. She succeeds. While the landscape Gibson is painting is not recognizable, the feeling of the vastness of Wyoming is, as is our delicate, constantly changing light.

“In Portland, the colors are very saturated, green, and there are so many flowers,” says Gibson, who has been a weaver, painter, and mixed media artist for over twenty-five years and holds a BFA from Oregon College of Art and Craft. “Here, everything is more muted and there is something about the size of the landscape that makes you notice the light more. I expected to love the mountains, but I didn’t know how the huge landscape would impact me. There is something about the expansiveness that makes me notice the light more—all day, every day. The thing that has always struck me [is], in other places I look at the landscape; here I’m in it. It changed my work a lot. It upset the applecart for me and that’s a good thing.”

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