Object to Image: Recent Photographs by Pam Fox

WindsockOctober 15 - December 12, 2003
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The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum of Hampden-Sydney College is proud to present, "Object to Image", an exhibition of studio work by Pam   Fox, Lecturer in Fine Arts, Hampden-Sydney College, featuring biological specimens and antique scientific apparatus from the collection of Hampden-Sydney College.

The exhibition is co-organized by the Atkinson Museum and guest-curator, Mary Prevo, Art Historian and lecturer in Fine Arts, and will open Wednesday, October 15 and continue through December 12, 2003.  An artist's reception will be held on Thursday, October 23, at 4:30p.m. in the East Gallery.  A gallery talk by the artist will be given at 5:00p.m. in conjunction with the reception, which is free and open to the public.

Drawn from her firsthand observation of applied and experimental science, Fox's photographs seek to illumine the connection between science and art.  Her work delves into the sensuous associations between the machine and nature, combining antique scientific instruments and biological specimens.   To this she adds the detritus of everyday life - printed matter, human hair, flowers picked on a walk, dolls' heads and clothing. 

Harnessing associations explored by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Surrealists of the mid-twentieth century, Fox uses light to create preconscious associations among objects. Sheets of back-lit mica, craftily lit translucent glass globes, and the incorporation of earlier prints of her figurative work elude to a mysterious and evocative alchemist's studio; frail natural objects, such as biological specimens, snake skins, shells and dried flowers seem fresh and new combined with the beautifully machined, but dusty and old fashioned science instruments. 

DressUnlike many of the Surrealists' images, which can be dark and predatory, Fox's are often bright and uplifting. Spark, for example, speaks of the pregnant beauty of light, energy, and life.  But other images are poignant and even deeply sorrowful.  In Dress a lilting, wispy dance frock gestures to us from within a monumental bell jar. The dress is wrinkled and its ribbon ends are frayed.   The bottled dance dress flickers as though about to go up in flames.  Or perhaps it is being preserved forever in its graceful, youthful, emptiness. 

Fox invites the viewer to think about the past achievements of chemistry and physics, about the mystery inherent in them, and the forces they attempt to harness and understand.  She invites us to consider with empathy how human imagination, whether through pure science or art, can bring us to dream of things above and beyond that which we can see or measure.  Objects become actors in a drama linked through an intuitive or poetic logic.  In the moment of the photograph, the objects become images. 

Pam Fox holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, 1980; and a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography from Virginia Commonwealth University, 1990.  Fox joined the Fine Arts faculty at Hampden-Sydney College in the fall of 1993, where she is currently a lecturer in fine arts.  In addition, Fox has been teaching at the Studio School of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts since 1990.  Fox's work was recently exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as part of the Virginia's Women Artists exhibition.  She has also exhibited at the Babcock Gallery, Sweetbriar College, Sweetbriar, VA; and Fred P. Giles Gallery, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY, in 2002, as well as the 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA, in 2001.  

Her work has received numerous prestigious awards, such as the 2003 Virginia Museum Fellowship Award, and the 2002 Virginia Commission for the Arts Award in Photography.  Her work is featured in many museum, University and corporate collections throughout Virginia.  Fox is also an executive Board member of the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA and maintains a studio at Fulton Hill Studios.

The Esther Thomas Atkinson Museum is located on College Road at Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia.  Hours:  Tuesday - Friday, 12:30p.m. - 4:30p.m. and other times by appointment.  For more information about the museum and other programs, please contact Lorie Mastemaker at 434-223-6134.