Pamela Gaard, a Minneapolis-based artist, makes paintings, photographs and mixed media artworks.
Born into a family of Ashkenazi tailors and stitchers, she admired, early on, the patterns, colors, and textiles of the schmatte trade. Her maternal grandma taught her to read, sew and garden, beginning at age 4. Extreme shyness as a youth compelled her to isolate with books and art.
Her earlier works in textile collage, assemblage, and mixed media sculptures were influenced by everyday life and made of materials hard and soft. Meditations on dichotomies such as love & fear, always & never, and acceptance & refusal permeated these early works.
By contemplating the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, she makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Through her socially engaged work she seeks to create bridges between communities. Her optimism leads her to discover the spiritual in everyday life and to transform elements of the past into a hopeful and regenerative future.