About the Artist

Pamela Gaard, b. Minneapolis 1955

I’m interested in the boundary between art and science. I started out in life as an artist – a photographer, sculptor and painter -- yet followed a career path in science. I made my living in public health for 40 years; thus my interest in health and healing. I’ve made my art in the spaces between work and raising children; and, I’ve discovered that my art has the ability to heal.

My art contemplates the revealed and the concealed. My abstract and language-based works explore time, memory, and healing. Drawings, paintings and collages are mnemonics to private narratives, meditations on everyday life.

I make portraits from live models using a combination of sketches and my own photographs of the model; created in thin layers of acrylics. Occasionally I experiment with other methods by painting portraits from other’s photos.

For several years, I’ve explored community connectivity and engagement through portraiture. My portraits honor unsung heroes from all walks of life, including immigrants and the elderly, neighbors, friends, colleagues, art collectors, and other artists. I capture faces which might otherwise go unseen as we pass by people on the street. Installed together in exhibition, my portraits represent my utopian vision – a cohesive community which transcends language and culture, and bridges generations.

My twelve years of work and engagement in the Somali community in Minneapolis has led me to create many portraits of individuals from this community, including some elders who are fluent in languages other than English (these portraits were assisted by interpreters). I’ve had the privilege of learning from my Somali neighbors, and discovering elder artists in the community. Artistic collaborations with other artists have enriched my own practice, and led artists who have never shown their work publicly to appreciate new value in their art as it's acquired by collectors and museums.