Pamm Hanson

As a woman aging in this American culture, I find myself committed to painting images I see in the mirror as I scrutinize and watch my body change. My work ranges from the very small (1in x 2in) to the very large (6ft x 15ft) – much like the range of my perception as I look at my body and my visage. In 2008 I received my MFA (with honors) from the Vermont Studio Center/Johnson State College. I also teach at Path with Art (pathwithart.org): An arts organization that provides art education to adults in recovery from living unsheltered and other trauma. This teaching humbles my own privilege and teaches me courage. I also have had a full and rich career as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, with a MA in Psychology ('80).

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As a woman over sixty-five, I live with our culture’s campaign for my disappearance.  As an artist, I defy it. I look in the mirror and I draw and paint images of myself, large canvases that put my aging face on display. This unflinching exploration, tracing of time’s marks on the curves and planes of my body’s surface, literally gets under viewers’ skin, needling their assumptions about “beauty” and forcing them to confront their reactions to the very propriety of my offering, and their accepting, an aging woman’s visage as an object of aesthetic contemplation. Some say I have courage.  I know that I work from necessity.  My work claims my aging body, the dignity of its passage through time.  These paintings say no. I refuse to disappear.

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