Award-winning painter Pam Douglas explores various human interactions with the universe in her newest exhibition “Galaxies,” opening September 1, 2015 (through September 26, 2015) at Bergamot Station’s TAG Gallery in Santa Monica, which features eleven original paintings on watercolor and rice paper. An opening reception will be held Saturday, September 12th from 5-8 PM with an Artist’s Talk taking place Saturday, September 19th at 3 PM.

While representing a departure from her larger, mixed media abstractions of years past that focused on earthy textures, earthly elements and serious subjects, these medium-sized pieces continue her experimentation by using mixed media on paper, including charcoal, pencil, acrylic and photos of galaxies taken by NASA’s Hubble Telescope. In “Galaxies,” she features ethereal human subjects, but with a lighthearted tone. In this case, she shows graceful figures and even a playful Buddha, each creating tangible connections with the stars. The outer space images were taken by NASA’s world-renowned Hubble Telescope, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary of operation (http://hubble25th.org/).

“’Galaxies’ is not a meant to be a meditation solely on celestial life—audiences can definitely relate to what these earthly subjects are doing,” says Douglas.” For example, a triptych of women serve trays of pastries made of spiralling stars. The show also includes an endearing image of a baby eating ‘galaxy fruit’ with great delight; a woman floating in outer space, catching onto a galaxy’s ‘tail’; and a grinning Buddha who juggles eight ‘galaxy balls’ above his head. The images and titles might be interpreteted as fun, but I see them also as provocative, as subtle comments on humanity’s desire to make our connection to the universe more tangible, understandable.”

Says Douglas, “Before, I was too awed by the beauty of the telescope’s photographs to use them in my art, and I didn’t want to be disrespectful to science. But then I considered the words of Arthur C. Clarke, who said: ‘Astrologers once believed that the stars controlled the destinies of men. The time may come when men control the destinies of stars.’ And I asked myself, ‘What if the cosmos could be seen as approachable, available for people to experience, if we can play with the stars?’”

She adds, “I was also inspired by Plato’s quote: ‘Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and draws it from the things of this world to the other,’ and so I decided to move forward on using these beautiful Hubble images, which pay homage to the Hubble Telescope’s 25th anniversary—the Hubble is one of mankind’s greatest achievements.”.

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