Last Chance: This ain’t no travel log

By Sarah Thompson
From the October 10, 2013 edition

Show shares universal connections, not just cultures

Editor’s note: Last Chance is a new feature wherein we highlight a show or exhibit you might have missed when it premiered. This is, as the title suggests, your last chance to experience it before it’s over.

Across the States. Europe. All the way to Tanzania. It’s safe to say Pam Workman has traveled a lot, capturing shots of culture along the way. But one of those experiences would bring to her consciousness — and paintbrush — what Workman garnered from being an OSU student, CCAD grad and a current New York resident: a deep appreciation for diversity and universal connectedness.

“There was this man in Central Park juggling. He had a ball in his hand. When I projected it, I [recalled I] always had marbles in my still life,” she said. “I suddenly realized, instead of looking at this still life, I was looking at the world. So I started going through these enormous photo files I had, looking for the people that I could remember something about.”

In two years, Workman has used these photos to create a collection of portraits, each labored over to ensure the people portrayed were “measured right,” she said, referring to the sentiments the phrase takes on in the lit classic “A Raisin in the Sun.”

“I measured everything — nose, eyes. It enabled me to realize, even more, these people as individuals, mothers, children, people who have lives and hearts and cares,” she said. “It wasn’t done in a passive way, the way a person who travels would take a photo of someone and not think about it again. It was a spiritual experience.”

And though she hopes viewers walk away with a similar experience — some have told her they have — she says the journey, for her, is far from over.

“I feel that the story is not told yet,” she said. “There’s still a deep well to reach into. Experiences to share.”