Howard Thomas - Emeritus Professor of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberyswyth University
I was introduced to Pamela Schilderman's work during her residency at Aberyswyth Arts Centre 2009. I have a long-standing interest in transcultural interactions and have received Wellcome, NESTA, and Leverhulme funding to promote collaborations between science and the arts. I was interested to learn about Ms Schilderman's approach to replicating organic and faux-natural forms and textures through a range of sometimes surprising media such as crystals and punched paper. Although I felt a particular, one might say professional, resonance with the work, I don't think it's necessary to be a scientist to find the delicacy and precision of these creations invoking sympathetic recognition.
This is particularly true of the Harold Thomas allegory, a subtle, ambitious enigma which questions what we think we see and know. By blurring the distinctions between gallery and museum, history and fiction, biology and art, and creative artist and explorer-scientist, the work challenges accepted ideas of what art is about, where it comes from and how it is to be presented and experienced. Viewers become deeply connected when they engage with art that invokes an air of mystery; the Harold Thomas project offers such an encounter.
Anneka French - Contemporary Art Writer, Editor and Curator
Pamela Schilderman's complex body of work exhibits a critical interest in science, nature and beauty, always from the point of view of the artist. Schilderman's practice encompasses drawing, painting, photography and three-dimensional work to cross expected categorising boundaries. Although seemingly disparate, her body of work is held together by key motifs such as the circle or 'dot' as well as notions of transformation, repetition and the links between knowledge and intelligence. Schilderman's shifting, indeterminate practice is sometimes organic and often otherworldly; suggestive of familiar things but never explicit. Much about her work remains deliberately hidden from the viewer, and this elusiveness places onus on us to develop a dialogue with the work.
Schilderman finds beauty in the small variations to be found in things which might seem at first to be identical. Drawing on ideas of repetition and visual saturation, she is interested in how we select information from the world around us, and how this is reconfigured and processed by the eye and the brain. For example, in her installation Allusions, she uses thousands of polystyrene balls and paper dots to overwhelming effect. Gradually, the eye alights on subtle differences between the tiny objects that make up the work, whilst simultaneously recognising the larger whole. The idea is linked to her exploration of the connections between visual information, knowledge and intelligence, playing with occlusion and display to direct how the work is viewed and experienced.