"The characters in my paintings don't readily give away their stories; their histories of desire and love. But it is a seductive world that they seem to hint at, a place of myth-making and mystery. They invite us in at some level to speculate on the idealised memories of their lives and to give a second thought to the half forgotten fables we each collect and carry through our own world."
The paintings of Pam Hawkes are not portraits as such. Something else is going on in her richly worked, exquisitely realistic images. Each painting offers up fragments, broken or mirrored images, or self-absorbed reflections of exquisite young women and men.
Who are these people? And why do they seem to enfold, embrace and pull us into their world with their hunted eyes, transparent skin, and breathtakingly beautiful frozen glances.
Pam Hawkes works from within traditions of Renaissance portraiture; certainly at a technical level, her paintings are remarkable and highly skilled depictions of sitters within exotic, lush and decadent settings. But she also embraces more contemporary issues such as the construction of identity, the existence and physicality of desire, the ambiguity of sexuality and the push-pull of power that exists between the viewer and the subject of their vision.
Complex, sensual, erotic and powerful …. Pam Hawkes' paintings take your breath away while simultaneously breathing life back into your soul.
Celia Lendis. September 2013.
‘’At first glance the rich, dark colours and muted gleam of gold leaf are reminiscent of grand late Renaissance portraits, but a second look reveals a vulnerability in the sitters which is at odds with their formal pose. Pam Hawkes’s mind is steeped in illuminated manuscripts and religious iconography which she transmits into striking images of today. She loves the idea of stillness, so often personified by the Virgin in paintings of the Annunciation throughout the ages, but many of the women of her portraits betray agitation behind their apparent tranquillity.’’
Mary Rose Beaumont. 2010.
For the last fifteen years Pam Hawkes as taught on fine art courses at colleges and universities around Birmingham, England, where she resides. During this time she has also shown in London, Europe and America in joint and solo exhibitions.