“A picture made in a single moment? No, it is built up piece-by-piece,  just like a house. And the spectator—is his looking done in a single moment? ”  Paul Klee

Pamela E. Becker and Jan Morgen

27th March – 15th May 2024

First Friday Reception: May 3rd 2024 5-8pm

Artist Talks Jan Morgen and Pamela E. Becker 6:30pm

Continuum highlights the work of two Philadelphia area female artists, painter Jan Morgen and fiber artist Pamela E. Becker. This exhibition is included in (re)FOCUS 2024, a Philadelphia citywide program that celebrates women artists. The festival celebrates the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts/1974;

Gravers Lane Gallery brings Pamela and Jan in dialogue with each other about their process focused artistic practices, spanning decades. Both artists explore materials with a keen awareness of detail; Morgen layering pigment with mark making and Becker coiling embroidery thread into large scale vessels. Their time consuming processes invite healing and contemplative states of being: stitch by stitch; row by row; layer, mark, scrape, paint, repeat. Patterns, symbols and color play off each other in this serene pairing of painting and basketry.

Starting life in Chicago, Pamela E. Becker now lives in western New Jersey after years in upstate New York and Michigan. Studies in clay, sculpture and textiles gave her technical skills in a variety of mediums. It was only when she gave up working in clay that basketry came to the forefront of her practice. Because she missed building three dimensional forms, she set herself a goal of becoming proficient in basketry. Her goal was to build forms that spoke to the space they occupy and her interest in the world around her.

Pamela has been evolving her basketry for almost 40 years now. After learning about the structure of molecules in a college chemistry class lecture, she gained the understanding that the world is based on very small units repeated over and over to make a final form. This awareness has been the underlying foundation of her work. Inspiration comes from the landscapes around her: photographs taken in the garden; walking a trail or observing a woodpecker at her windowsill, remind her of the incredible shapes and colors that surround us. Using an ancient technique, the work’s essence then slowly emerges from the interplay and reaction of pattern, color and repetition.

Jan Morgen, like Becker, was born in Chicago and grew up in Skokie, Illinois. She spent her first year of college at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, before transferring to Philadelphia College of Art where she graduated in 1975 with a BFA in painting. Morgen paints on the ground with paper mounted on wood panels. She layers paint then laboriously marks, scars and scrapes the surface of the work in a purposeful and methodical fashion, inch by inch. She likens the canvas’ surface to the building of its history which is symbolic of her own. The process unfolds, capturing mistakes and discovery. The marks and symbols are sourced from ancient art and artifacts, carefully researched and chosen. The process is timeless to her; both meditative and rigorous, it forces her to slow down to be able to hear within. Jan’s paintings enable her to express understanding from deep places: forgiveness, connectedness and purpose.