Artist Statement

Pamela Gaard, b. Minneapolis 1955

My Ashkenazi grandparents were tailors and sewers — as I grew up immersed in the schmatte trade I inherited a sensual appreciation for pattern, color, and textiles. My maternal grandmother taught me to read at age 4 and to sew at age 5. Extreme shyness as a youth caused me to self-isolate with books and art.

My early work in textile collage and photography led to sculptural work in mixed media. Now, retired from my scientist job, I am painting and drawing again — which takes me full circle back to my youth.

My portraits are mostly painted from life — subjects are neighbors, friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, and other artists. I have painted portraits of elders in our community with assistance from interpreters. Collaborations with several other artists have enriched my studio practice over the years. I’m interested in language, and I speak a little Hebrew, Yiddish & Somali.