Atmosphere, Mood, Energy Flow

In the early 1980's Gerwald Sonnberger showed the so-called snail diaries of his niece Pamela Ecker around the editing office of the cultural magazine Landstrich and explained that they came from the snail reserve that she ran in the garden. She kept illustrated diaries before she could write. „No-one else can read this writing. Only me. I invented this writing myself”, was her comment about her own snail books when she was a Primary School pupil. Some of the pages from her books were eventually reproduced in the „Childrens Language” issue of Landstrich and shown in an accompanying exhibition.

Even as a child she felt a strong need to create. Her talent was recognized by Sonnberger and actively encouraged. He had a large sketch bound for his niece every year. The graphic and pictorial development stages of the child and adolescent have been preserved in these books. When Pamela Ecker appeared before the entrance examination commission of the Academy of Art in Vienna, she presented a number of these sketch books and convinced the panel.

Pamela Ecker was born in Schärding and lived there until she went to study in Vienna. The small town on the Inn with its varied architectural styles set in a river landscape with bridges, oxbows and lush marsh woodland had a strong impact on the senses of the artist. There were lots of places with specific light effects at different times of day, the low horizon in the west, the high sky over it, the cloud phenomena and the atmospheric features near the water and between the interlocked buildings. These ranked amongst the child’s daily impressions and were soon expressed in searching mood pictures. During her training in Vienna under Gunter Damisch she studied the possibilities of the representation of atmospheric features as a sign of expression of her life and feeling of existence in the widest variety of shades. Work from the period of her studies, some of which have been collected in this catalogue under the title “Urban Spaces – Room Spaces“ show Pamela Ecker to be technically experienced in painting and printing graphics and competent in dealing with the light, atmosphere and energy, which flood through the picture space. That is just as clear in the case of water-landscapes and with the pulsating tempestuousness of flowing traffic within the confines of a roadway.

Eight years after the completion of her studies she concentrated her artistic attention on the town of Krumlov. During a residential stay in the Schiele Centrum she absorbed the new ambience with senses alert. She experienced the stimuli of the new environment as an exciting challenge and was aware of the fact that during their processing she was living in the complex that her first Mentor Gerwald Sonnberger had discovered, arranged into its current form and had functionally developed.

The following exhibition of the results of her residence in the Schiele Centrum Museum documented her gradual approach to the Krumlov project. Pamela Ecker did not only deal with the world cultural heritage city, nor only with the imaginary presence of Egon Schiele, but also with contemporary life and with the transition of the old town to a modern one whose periphery forms a contrast to the historical centre. Pamela Ecker was interested in pictorially capturing the mature town architecture. She represented space without stressing the perspective, emphasized objects by making outlines from a heap of building mass and placed her surfaces next to one another.

What looked like studies at first got into swing as work progressed: the increasingly denser bunches of lines merged into fabrics, from whose dark surfaces brightness erupted, which seemed to be thrown around on stormy waves and hinted at a mysterious substratum in the tourist defined town.

The artist proved to have the appropriate perception for this range. Her contemplative gaze out of the window alighted on the surface of the morbid walls, on the fragile backs of the cultural monuments and on roofs, which had sunk under the pressure of time. Pamela Ecker also looked down from the high vantage point of the Castle onto the crammed, higglety-piggelty community at her feet, onto the pitch-black Vltava flowing by which contrasted with the weak lighting and reflections.

The Vltava showed its melancholy beauty like the town itself, from which (as has been the case with many European old small towns) private life has fled to the periphery where roomy spaces and roads provide cars with more space than humans. In the suburbs Pamela Ecker’s vision is of energy radiating multistoried buildings set against the sky, depicted in fresh yellow tones, mixed with poisonous looking yellowish green and deep shadows.

Pamela Ecker’s landscapes start out from a particular impression based on real features, even if the works appear to be completely abstract. She reveals herself to have been stimulated by the atmosphere of nature which accompanies such common situations as dawn and dusk, night, moonlight, winter and cold weather. The appearance of light and darkness next to each other reflects a psychological model. If the viewer gazes out of the darkness into the light (through a structure such as a tangle of branches) a mystical mood arises. Night visions create suction into the depths of endless space and open metaphysical dimensions.Pamela Ecker’s pictorial motifs are usually of an ethereal transient nature such as clouds, nebulas, steam, breath and vapour and so she accordingly applies the paint translucently. Sometimes however she consolidates and solidifies the surface. Applications of paint of varying thickness and scraping produce surprisingly strong structures. The painting surface becomes coarse, which then creates a high degree of solidity beside the delicate tones in the picture. The ethereal game played in the drama of elementary forces is made visible by the painter through the strength of expression of the colours and the gradated dynamics of their application.

In the end the production of light, shade and darkness steers towards a symbolic effect, however the meaning in the specific sense remains hanging in the air. Pamela Ecker’s artistic methodology, which corresponds to her feelings and moods submits the objects of her experience to a catharsis. The substance of this experience clarifies itself and the drama of the matter tends towards spirituality. The resulting artistic expression follows the criteria of perception and the organization of feelings.