The work of Pamela Burgess is motivated by a fascination with nature and its materials, and a reverence for craftsmanship.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Burgess’ early career was in the graphic arts. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, she opened a design and illustration studio in Boston.
Upon relocating to Chicago, she began her career as a fine artist with large tape installations of abstract land formations and a Polaroid series on light, both of which established the foundation for her artistic investigation.
While visiting friends on the West Coast, Burgess took a profound interest in the California landscape. Upon relocating to Los Angeles, she produced a series of drawings and sculptures based on flora from the Anza Borrego Desert. To learn more about materials and processes she apprenticed with a museum exhibits shop, and later opened a custom metal fabricating business serving Los Angeles architects, artists and museums.
In 1998 Burgess produced a series of composite landscape photographs, which were exhibited at a UC Santa Cruz environmental conference. Photographing Elysian Park in Los Angeles connected her to local “green” organizations, which initiated her ongoing community volunteer work.
In 2005 she began a series of graphite shadow drawings using the Sun to capture by hand portraits of plants in a moment of time, much like photography. This body of work led to an artist-in-residency, exhibition invitations from botanic gardens, and transitioning her landscape photography into outdoor site-specific installations. In 2015 her sculpture, Shadow Screen, was added to the permanent collection of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
Awards and Fellowships: Durfee Foundation ARC grant; first Artist-in-Residence of Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants; Dorland Fellow, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony
Exhibitions: Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens, Occidental College, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Metro Gallery, Avenue 50 Studio, Theodore Payne Foundation, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, The Art Rental and Sales Gallery of LACMA, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Community: board member, Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park (from 1997); board member, Theodore Payne Foundation and chair of its Arts Council (2010 – 2016); co-chair, workshop on art and nature, LA City Conference V: Global Climate Change, Los Angeles, CA (2008); appointed to the City of Los Angeles Elysian Park Master Plan Oversight Committee (2007)