Contemporary Reactions: Pam Bowman’s “Aggregation”

As a viewer, it is often difficult and challenging to understand a work of contemporary art. However, being able to appreciate the time and effort that has been put into a piece often helps the viewer appreciate a work of art more. When Leah Andrews—a recent addition to the Salt Lake community—visited UMOCA, she admired the extensive detail of Pam Bowman’s intricate installation, Aggregation, currently on display in the Projects Gallery.

“It is amazing that she sewed all of the pieces individually,” Andrews says. She continues to admire how the thread from the individual portraits then “comes off like paint on a painting” to collect onto the spools. “I can really appreciate the work and the time that goes into making the detailed expressions on each of their faces.”

Using thread and textiles, Bowman traces the familiar faces of people from her own neighborhood. A quilt-like tableau portrays a plethora of individual faces sewn with copper and cream thread. The copper and cream-colored threads extend out to four turquoise spools that are held in place by two black, rusty poles. The extension of the threads draws viewer into observing the detail of each singular portrait.

The resulting installation highlights Bowman’s surroundings and friendships. Aggregation portrays and unites the many individuals that form a community. For Andrews, this work related to her own experience of moving to Salt Lake and reminded of the importance of settling in and becoming part of a community.

Written by Abby Martin

Pam Bowman: Aggregation will be on display in the UMOCA Projects Gallery through March 28, 2015.

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