By Cynthia Hibbard
The monotypes in Pam Galvani’s current Shift show, Locus, emerged from the burnout of her intensive, two-year MFA program, completed last October.
Far more than satisfying her show requirements, the work reinvigorated her understanding of her own mark making and shone a klieg light on her way forward.
“After finishing my MFA, I went into a deep no-production mode for a few months,” she said. “Then, just because this show was coming up, I began to work again and to hope that the old saw about ‘just making work,’ would prove true.”
Turns out, she was exactly right.
I began to see that I didn’t need to GO anywhere. I just needed to make prints and see where that took me. I began to look forward to each day in the studio”
“I began to see that I didn’t need to GO anywhere. I just needed to make prints and see where that took me. I began to look forward to each day in the studio,” Galvani said.
While she began, she reread the classic tome on the anxieties of art making, Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. The treatise encourages artists to just get busy and let the work itself become the guide.
What Galvani noticed along the way was that the elements she was seeing in her prints—sources and impulses that she wanted to explore further—were indicative of her already established and signature style.
There were swirls from big, swooping, whole body movements (“equivalent”); gestural, calligraphic strokes (“explaining”); kinetic lines etched into wet plates (“overlap 1 and 2”) and the subtleties and flourishes of ink dripped from and stroked with a palette knife (“word choice”).
They had been hiding in plain sight.
Galvani had determined at the outset that her process would be to look for the intersection or “locus” that resides between intention and realization in her completed pieces.”
Galvani had determined at the outset that her process would be to look for the intersection or “locus” that resides between intention and realization in her completed pieces.
She hunkered down.
“As when I was in school, I stopped making outside commitments that distracted me from the work,” she explained. “I looked for a focal point, but what I discovered was more like a gathering point for my ideas and imagery.”
Looking through a viewfinder now at her results, Galvani sees a mark-making “mind map” to push her off in the several directions she’d like to pursue next.
The title of her MFA thesis, Sources, had already primed her for the task. And she’ll likely pick up more ideas from teaching The History of Visual Communication at Cornish College of the Arts this fall.
“Maybe I should have called this show Resources instead of Locus,” Galvani said with a laugh, “because it is getting me excited again. I can learn from this work.”