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Data Drawing #43, Linwood Parks- Pamela Shipley

Data Drawing #43, Linwood Parks- Pamela Shipley

Mixed Media
12" x 12" x 1"


Pamela Shipley is a New Jersey based contemporary artist who works with natural forms of data. These data are not numeric and there is no computer involved in her analysis. Instead Shipley uses physical objects collected from our natural environment – what she refers to metaphorically as the most PURE form of data. Shipley has long been intrigued by ways we identify facts, how we perceive truth, how we acquire and use information, and how we construct our own sense of reality. In her work she’s been compelled by data for many years, a compulsion that she traces back to childhood. Early works reflect a literal reliance on data as realism, visual realism.  Her awareness has evolved into a respect for data as reference or a starting point, from which she relies on her own instincts, observations, experience, and perceptions – unique strengths – to guide her process and to reveal what she sees in the world around her.


Compelled by data and ways we perceive truth and construct reality – in my work I use raw data collected from our natural environment. These data are pure, the result of iteration and evolution.  Each work is a data set expressive of my experience and it evolves from meticulous observation. Marks note my interpretation of the data; the result reflecting the unique truth, logic, and beauty that I see.
In Data Drawings I transfer impressions of the data onto my work surface. Often data will exude its own pigment. Then contemplation and study begin. At first nothing appears distinct. In time a point or sequence of data points become evident and I make note, marking them with pencil. Marks continue to multiply. Occasionally many data points come into focus at once inspiring a momentary sense of chaos. Patience returns and I resume the task of reading and marking. Conscious to rotate the panel as I work, this forces me to view the data differently. From experience I know this patient persistence will allow variables [like time and light] to reveal nuanced characteristics in the data that would otherwise go unnoticed. This process continues, and an image emerges, over many sittings; and, like a puzzle, ends when it has reached a logical conclusion.

My New Derreen series, both Senescence & Chromatograms, celebrate beauty often overlooked in senescence.  Harvesting only spent blossoms, the miraculous range of color in these works appears when I manipulate discarded data.


In these works I explore a process that mimics life and our compulsion to make sense of it with data. Our seemingly common and yet essentially individual experiences shape our perceptions of the world. Being fully conscious of our inherent bias cultivates a more empathetic appreciation for our differences. While mine certainly direct what viewers initially see in these works, my intention is for viewers to contemplate the data in their own way. 

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