A touch of humor & nostalgia
This story was featured in the August 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine August 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine August 2012 digital download here. Or simply click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
Some artists finish a painting and then struggle to title the work. But for still-life artist Pamela Carroll, the vision for a painting often begins with a title. The title helps solidify the tableaux in her mind, Carroll says. It can be a play on words, a double entendre, or even the hint of a political message. For example, UP IN SMOKE features a stack of the artist’s favorite objects—cigar boxes. But as she points out, the title also reflects her sentiments and wishes for the tobacco industry to go “up in smoke.” In COOL CATS, Carroll portrays not only a tin cat toy and a teacup graced with an image of Felix the Cat, but also a vintage red Mercedes—a car that might be driven by one “cool cat.”
Carroll’s style is influenced by both the Dutch masters and today’s contemporary realists. She is regularly juried into the International Guild of Realism’s annual exhibition, and last year she won the Director’s Choice Award at the event. When Carroll is looking for inspiration, she often travels from her home in Carmel, CA, to Monterey and the Cannery Row Antique Mall, a warehouse where more than 100 dealers sell everything from vintage appliances to kitschy knick-knacks. “I view my paintings as works that evoke a sense of nostalgia andtactile realism,” Carroll says.
Indeed, remnants from a bygone era often appear in her still lifes—antique toys, old toasters, and even women’s high-heeled spectator pumps from the 1950s, which were covered in cobwebs and mold until she hosed them down before painting them. “Something spoke to me about those shoes,” she recalls.
The pumps made their painting debut sitting on top of a suitcase in a work titled STEPPING OUT, an homage to Edward Hopper and his portrayals of empty, lonely hotel rooms. “It is the relationship between the object and the observer that I am interested in—where the appearance of reality and art are measured in very fine lines,” Carroll says. “I really want viewers to feel a connection with the objects in one of my paintings so that they want to reach out and touch them.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the August 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine August 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine August 2012 print edition
Or click here to subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
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