The oil paintings of Pamela Melvin are a strange study of ironies and contrasts. The artist's palette can be as vibrantly colorful as that of the Fauves. Yet much of her subject matter is hauntingly dark and introspective.
She draws much of her inspiration from her South Florida environment--yet the outlook is anything but sunny with red searing suns and fiery palms. A painting of a woman preparing for a morning swim has the menacing feel of a Hitchcock movie as does a surreal painting of a green dog in a seaside mansion.
Melvin is most affecting when looking inward as in a series of blue portraits inspired by repressed women. She injects herself into the subjects whose facial expressions range from melancholy to anguish. They are surrounded by fruits, flowers, and shadowy ghostlike figures. Away From The Party, a self-examining work, depicts the party girl who has chosen to stay home. She wears a green and blue festive dress and is surrounded by purple and black floating flowers, but she lies in repose her face void of expression.
Melvin's work also conveys an acute awareness of other's pain, such as Sunflower For Billie, whose subject is a fellow artist who died of AIDS. Ironically, the pained face looks like Billie Holiday in a black tragedy mask. In the foreground is a sunflower in a purple vase and in the background a yellow full moon. All is surrounded by a salmon colored frame. One of Melvin's most recent works, The Peacemakers, may remind a viewer of The Last Supper, excepting the apostles are women and monstrously blue, purple and green. Their facial expressions are rapt and bowls of fruit lie before them on the table.
Another blue figure with biblical overtones is the subject of Stars, Stripes, and Decay. The bruised man in crucifix position seems to be floating in suspended animation on an American flag atop a sea of blue. In her twenty years of painting, Pamela Melvin has developed a highly distinctive style despite the eclectic nature of her work. Her paintings contain abstract elements along with painterly structure. Recurring themes include natural beauty, animals, and human suffering and sorrow.