Artwork Detail

Pam Beale
American, b. 1944
Dyed and bleached canvas with caulk
103 x 103 "
Gift of Anne V. Champ, 1974
WU 4516
One in a series of “constructed paintings” begun in the late 1960s, this work by Allan McCollum is made up of three-inch-wide rectangular strips of torn and dyed canvas adhered together with industrial caulking in a manner that evokes the patterning of brickwork or shingles. It was created at a moment when many artists and critics alike were reducing the concept of painting to its essential terms (pigment, two-dimensional canvas, and stretcher). Pam Beale works simultaneously within and against those terms as McCollum knowingly tests the then-dominant discourses surrounding abstract painting. His intention that the work be displayed flat against the wall emphasizes the painting’s two-dimensional character while also heightening the viewer’s awareness of it as an object with weight and tactility. The artist’s decision to name the work arbitrarily after a waitress at a nightclub in West Hollywood, however, complicates purely formalist concerns and belies his otherwise highly structured approach. In the context of McCollum’s career Pam Beale is a transitional work, linking the artist to the formalist dialogues of the 1950s and 1960s while anticipating his growing preoccupation with issues of serial production and strategies of display in the late 1970s and beyond. [Permanent collection label, 2017]