Pamela J. Marks
Associate Professor of Art
Joined Connecticut College: 1991
On sabbatical Fall 2014
B.F.A., Painting and Drawing, University of Illinois, M.F.A., University of Arizona
Originally from the Midwest, Pamela Marks received her B.F.A. in painting and drawing from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Arizona. For ten years following graduate school, Marks worked as an artist in residence for the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She took her studio practice into schools and communities throughout diverse regions in Arizona that included the Navajo reservation, agricultural border towns and inner city schools. Within this context, Marks worked as a “teaching artist” learning about how art and education combine and thrive in different communities and cultures. Concurrently, she was a founder and member of a regional artist cooperative (DAC) and taught courses at the University of Arizona, Pima College and the Tucson Museum of Art School. From 2001-2005, she taught summer sessions at the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in France, and in 2004 she was a visiting critic at Yale University School of Art. In 1991, Marks joined the faculty at Connecticut College.
Marks' exhibition record includes venues in the United States and abroad. Past venues include the Foundation Mona Bismarck, Paris; Institut Franco-America, Rennes, France; Tolbooth Art Centre, Kirkcudbright, Scotland; and the National Museum of Fine Arts, Dominican Republic.
Printmaking is another pursuit for Marks, and she has exhibited her prints in Greece, the Netherlands and in the United States.
Her paintings are in the collections of The Tucson Museum of Art; IBM; Tokyo Ana Hotel; Florence Griswold Museum; Benziger Winery Imagery Collection; Pabst Brewing Corporation; Singapore Sheraton Hotel and the Colorado Sangre de Cristo Art Center. In 1994, Marks was awarded an honorarium and purchase prize for her multi-paneled artwork, “Healing,” that is on permanent display at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Library in Tucson.
Marks spent four months in the Dominican Republic as an artist-in-residence at Altos de Chavon in 1986, and she was the first PASCA artist in residence in Auvillar, France. In 2008, Marks received a Visual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. While at the American Academy in Rome in the Visiting Artist and Scholar Program, Marks began research on sacred geometry that informed her Camouflage Series. In 2013, Marks was awarded a Golden Foundation exploratory residency at the Golden Paint Laboratories. While at the Golden Foundation, she worked closely with paint technicians exploring the many new developments in waterborne materials and oil paint technology.
As an artist, examining natural form and abstract visual language is a continual pursuit for Marks. The connections traverse geographical boundaries and time. Embracing pattern in the work has evolved from investigating relationships between pattern and abstraction from modernism to current influences of digital technology on abstract painting.
On teaching: "Developing a dialogue with the student, the work, and myself is a collaboration of sorts. It fosters a rigorous working atmosphere for creative investigations that have a unique energy. Teaching is not static and is never dull. It is a new and individualized with each student. Teaching students 'to see,' to think critically and to find their authentic voice is most rewarding," comments Professor Marks on her role as a teacher.
She is an advocate of cross-disciplinary learning and was the co-director of the Sherman Fairchild Foundation Grant Program for four years at the college.
Marks teaches courses in foundations, color studies, drawing and painting.
Commenting on Marks’ paintings, poet and writer Ravi Shankar states:
"The camouflage on US and British ships, intricate webs of geometric shapes in contrasting colors, was not meant to blend in, but to stand out, confuse rather than conceal. Marks' dazzle paintings appropriate this technique, superimposing the organic abstractions of cellular shapes on a scaffolding of repeating quincunxes, the sacred double cross. The collision of these divergent carriers of meaning, because rendered in watercolor, is not vehement or abrupt, but softened into a mandala of merging geometry. . . Such variegated amoebas, set to a recognizable measure and time signature, offer a subtle commentary on a society which co-opts its military end (combat pants and flak jackets ) as must-have fashion accessories. In Marks' explorations, the flattened gradations of color gesture towards not only the animal prints early camouflage was based on, but also to the roots of Cubism and art nouveau." - Ravi Shankar, The Boston Globe, 2007, The Exhibitionist: Inside. Backstage. Behind the scene.