6th Domestic Violence Awareness Project

 The Saunders Gallery of Fine Art is proud to present...
 The 6th Domestic Violence Awareness Project
Gallery Statement
This body of work was first exhibited in 2006. It was the initial exhibition as a gallery owner
 in my first location in Hoosick Falls, NY. 
From the time we presented the work, I knew it would be the inspiration for
 an annual event and one that my gallery would advocate for,
Throughout the years each show has been a little different,
 focusing on a variety of themes.
This year we reintroduce the original body of work.
 It has an emotional and powerful message that cannot be matched in it's entirety!

"Tearing Her Heart Out" Multi-media Assemblage

"Grief" Hand Finished Ceramic

"Shame"  Hand Finished Ceramic
Artist Statement                                                             Pamela Barker

Embracing Hope; Empowering Souls

     In February 2005, a woman from my hometown area was shot and killed by her husband.  That summer, the local newspaper ran a three part series on the issue of Domestic Violence.  After talking to people who had been in or were still in abusive relationships, I decided to create a series of artwork that would address this issue.  My main goal for this project is to help women discover their own strength in recovery from the devastating effects of abuse.  As I listened to the reactions and comments from friends who first viewed the work, a common opinion was that, in the end, the work conveyed hope to the viewer. My intention was to create an awareness of the emotional pain of the victims, but I also wanted women to feel empowered to change their lives or living situations. If after viewing this work, someone takes the steps to free themselves from abuse, my work will have served its purpose.
     I first began this project by creating the six ceramic figures. In the beginning, the woman is an “Innocent Victim”. She then goes through the cycle of abuse by portraying grief, deception, confrontation, shame, and victory. Each figure has a stylized form.  I like to begin with somewhat realistic proportions, but then I alter the form by eliminating limbs and adding on flowing slab pieces. For the surface decoration, I applied glazes to create a bronze patina finish. When I was creating the figures, I felt connected to their pain. As I was making the face of the figure in “Trials of Deception”, I had to get up and walk away. Her agony was almost too much to take. If you’ve never been affected by domestic violence, you can still feel the pain of the cycle of abuse.
     For the mixed-media assemblages, I used clay, paper clay, hand made paper, found objects, and newspaper clippings of words that related to the emotion of event in the composition. I collected articles and read many books on domestic violence to help me envision the different images. “Walking on Eggshells” was a very common feeling that many women had gone through.  The batterer was often compared to having a“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality. They could be very loving and caring at times, and then out of nowhere, turn into a raging monster. As with the sculptures, in the end, the themes transform into images of recovery and clarity.
     Marshall McCluen once said the medium is the message. It was not about creating “pretty” pictures. It was about the message. My greatest hope is that this series of artwork will speak to the women who are suffering from abuse and that they will be encouraged to stop the cycle of abuse.  Consequently, I hope others will be affected by its visual impact and have more compassion for its victims.

Quote from a victim after recovery: “I still have bad days every once in awhile, I used to have bad years”.


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