Pam Glew is a British contemporary artist, best known for her unique bleaching technique on fabric, particularly national flags. Pam Glew paints directly onto vintage textiles and her practice is an exploration into themes of idols, patriotism and the culture of heritage. Vintage flags, brocade and antique American quilts all feature in her work and are dyed black before being painted freehand with bleach. During the painting process a portrait slowly develops, resulting in a ghostly image emerging from the cloth.
The fabric that Pam Glew uses is bleached many times to create contrast and the material is washed each time to remove the chemicals. Each painting is painted around ten times. The finished product is an eerie, timeless image. Pam Glew is heavily inspired by film and her strong cinematic paintings often reference contemporary culture. She paints portraits of contemporary faces as well as self portraits in her work. With emphasis on the theme of culture of heritage she intends to explore the notion of belonging, or estrangement from our countries. Previously, Pam Glew has referenced personal experiences in her work, notably motherhood in the edition series Out of the Water.
Pam Glew enjoys working most with antique quilts and flags as she says ‘the history of the cloth gives a very precious surface to paint on.’ Pam Glew presents a successful juxtaposition between the historic elements of her work and contemporary culture. She considers nostalgia to be a repeated theme in her work and is fascinated by American movies. Pam Glew summarises her intentions by saying ‘I am looking for a sense of strength and wonder in the face and a compelling gaze, which disarms the viewer’.
Pam Glew has showcased her work in numerous group and solo exhibitions all over the world in Paris, Amsterdam, LA, Korea and the UK. She has showcased work alongside artists Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Peter Blake and has produced commissions for Armani, Ralph Lauren, MTV and Mitsibushi bank.