Pam Glew was born in 1978 and grew up in Northern Cornwall, she describes herself as “a weird grungy kid with a sketch book” and a love of music. Now in Brighton with her family and a studio in the back garden she is a well-established contemporary artist whose work is recognised and represented across Europe and the United States.
She is known for her use of vintage fabrics and flags of all nations as her base canvas. Her interest in national flags particularly first started after the attack on the twin towers in New York in 2001 when the U.S flag had such a polarising visual impact in different countries. Pam says “flags hold power for me, but when I use them now they are more about heritage and identity”
If wasn’t until the mid naughties around 2007 when Pam first did a major show with flags at the heart; although she also uses other fabrics and assemblages. Brocade, Quilts and vintage denims are stitched together to create a starting point for Pam’s unique approach to painting. Once cleaned and prepared the fabrics are dyed black or navy blue, washed again to remove excess then painted with household bleach. Using brushes and sponges the bleach corrodes the dye to reveal the underlying pigments, is washed and dried once more, this process is repeated up to 10 times as the images the artist is capturing starts to emerge from the negative space. At this stage she can use other dyes, paints and gold to accentuate areas of focus.
The piece “Afghan” Girl, from the 2007 exhibition was featured on the front cover of Le Monde supporting an article critiquing the Afghan War. The subject or genre of Pam’s work is often portraiture, sometimes poignant faces looking out from news reports but more often film stills and cultural icons with Lily Cole, Michael Jackson, Kate Moss and James Dean featuring.
Her work has been exhibited alongside Peter Blake, Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin. Pam’s work is collected by Bill Wyman, who has a union flag with the portraits of Terence Stamp and Jean Shrimpton and Goldie also has a large piece featuring a portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat. She cites Warhol, Schiele and Rauschenberg as influences. For The Art of Protest Gallery Pam’s combination of historic materials, unique techniques and beautiful finished works make her a perfect fit for the gallery, something a viewer can ponder and enjoy whether considering the process, subject or the overall effect created.