Pamela Izzard

Abstract painting has now a long and honourable history. It is as traditional as Naturalism - more so - for the representation of appearances has never been the true task of the artist. "Art does not render the visible: it renders visible", said Paul Klee during the brief but brilliant life of the Bauhaus, and what art renders visible is the life of the mind. The closure and dispersal of the Bauhaus by the Nazis, in April 1933, hastened the spread of its ideas all over the world, and they became incorporated into good modern art education. So Pamela Izzard has matured as a painter with an awareness of the objective existence of the form and colour elements that make up art.

Her early work, however, was more closely related to the quotidian experiences of life. One painting showed young people sleeping on a pebble-patterned beach, with the bicycles that had brought them there reclining nearby. She painted café scenes, and suburban summeriness: the outside world. These pictures, from the 40's and 50's, are well-made and full of vitality; and they arouse nostalgia, but they do not go deep.

It was when Pamela Izzard began to paint & teach again, with her energies fully available to her, after rearing her three children, that her mind went through an intellectual upheaval, demanding that her work came to terms with modern thought: its "loss of equilibrium, principles overthrown, unexpected drumbeats, great questionings, apparently purposeless striving, stress and longing", as Kandinsky described it; so she wished to forge a truly visual language, not illustrate events but purify her painting of irrelevances.

It takes a great deal of courage to change oneself. It also takes integrity and steadfastness. Other people are often horrified, but Pamela has proved herself to have the necessary qualities, and as she has worked she has kept an illuminating notebook of her thoughts.

"Observe the structure of nature, follow one's inner feeling's. Above all, respect Art. A painting is made of these things.

"lf a painting hasn't surprised me, I feel it is dead."

"One should not know everything about one's own painting."

"Discovery is the real excitement in painting."

Now, if we have not done so already, we have an opportunity to discover her painting for ourselves. It is not intimidating, orburdened with angst, for she means us to take pleasure in it.

She says,

"A painting must be lively and gay" like W.B.Yeats' old Chinamen, in "Lapis Lazuli" whose "ancient glittering eyes are gay" in spite of all they have come through.

Her still lives often stress the polarity of interior and exterior: small bright objects are enclosed in glass jars on a shelf, and outside, the window above them, leaves are blowing in the wind. In another, familiar kitchen objects - jug, box, fish, lemons, knife - lie on a bench while, above them hovers a helicopter, but beyond them flies the shadow of a bird. There is one entitled "lnside, Outside", and inside is a warm red while outside is golden with dark foliage. Other pictures suggest the clutter of the studio. Some might be called "colour-gardens" others "colour-theatres". Some contrast curvaceous organic forms with straight-edged inorganic forms. One of subtly spiralling forms, is called "Growing".

In aIl the paintings, geometric forms, that are products of the human mind, hold sway. They are the ruling powers in the republic of abstract art, and therefore in Izzard's inventive, colourful and disciplined works.


Anna Adams
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