Data: things known or assumed as facts, making the basis of reasoning or calculation.
Our society has become fixated on data. My recent works are data drawings – based on data derived from natural forms. They are ruminations on perception, memory, and reality.
I use raw data, elements collected from our natural environment. These data are original: products of evolution. Each drawing is a data set that expresses a particular experience – a moment or a place. The drawings evolve as I analyze and interpret the data. And they convey – through line, shape and form – the fundamental truth, the logic, and finally the beauty that I see.
Working on a square picture plane, I ink the surface of the data and then collage impressions of it onto a page. When the ink is dry I begin to study. At first glance the page appears blank, flat and white. But as I pause and truly look, a mark or sequence of marks becomes evident and I make note of them using my pencil. Marks begin to multiply on the page. Occasionally many marks come into focus all at once, inspiring momentary chaos (indecision). But patience returns and I resume the task of reading and marking, articulating the data as I see it. I am conscious to observe it from multiple viewpoints so that variables like time and light have an opportunity to reveal nuanced characteristics in the data. I continue to note what I perceive, with pencil. Patterns form and the data literally start to visually make sense. This process continues over many sittings. And, like a puzzle, it ends when it has reached a logical conclusion.
In these works I explore a process that mimics life and our compulsion to make sense of it. Our seemingly common and yet essentially individual experiences shape our perception of the world; certainly mine bias this interpretation of the data. Similarly, others will perceive and respond to it in their own way.
About Pamela Shipley
My involvement in Art/Art Education spans 20+ years and is rooted in my passion as an artist. I’m a staunch advocate of arts in education. Study at NYU’s schools of business, arts management, public policy provided skills to effect change in this arena. I started in policy at the Alliance for the Arts. And later found a more effective role: making change on the ground, in communities. I joined the development of a community-arts group with Rutgers Business School in Newark – GlassRoots – which provided a host of challenges, and an opportunity to teach. I learned/taught with truly excellent educators in dynamic institutions – top public, charter, and independent schools and nonprofits (Guggenheim/El Museo). Today my greatest impact is in school art studios, where I help children explore/develop their creative potential. My students are building a creative confidence they’ll carry with them throughout life. My goal is that they become the arts/arts education advocates of tomorrow.