Five-Minute Tours: Don Schol and Pam Burnley-Schol at PDNB Gallery, Dallas

by Glasstire August 1, 2022

Note: the following is part of Glasstire’s series of short videos, Five-Minute Tours, for which commercial galleries, museums, nonprofits and artist-run spaces across the state of Texas send us video walk-throughs of their current exhibitions. This will continue while the coronavirus situation hinders public access to exhibitions. Let’s get your show in front of an audience.

See other Five-Minute Tours here.

Don Schol and Pam Burnley-Schol: Carbon + Gold at PDNB Gallery, Dallas. Dates: July 9 – August 20, 2022.

Works on Paper by Don Schol
Paintings by Pam Burnley-Schol


“In 2009, PDNB Gallery featured the very powerful suite of woodcut prints from Don Schol’s suite, Vietnam Remembrances. In 2014, Don Schol (b. 1941, Iowa) had another solo show at PDNB of his linoleum cuts, Arrangements. Although Schol is well-known for his sculpture, especially his honest but humorous self-portraits, his printmaking and drawing have been a focus in his late career.

Schol’s series of drawings, Jazz Mini, were created in his mom’s last years, between 2015-2017. During his visits with his mom, she would watch tv and he would draw while listening to jazz music with earbuds. These detailed drawings are small, 3.5 inch square compositions with intricate geometric forms dancing around, fitting together almost like gears in a machine. The energy created finds no end in sight except the end of the paper.

His woodcut prints are from a humorous graphic suite created in 2009, Moonstruck. This is a story of two pencils meeting each other and what happens to them after they fall in love. It is an homage to the pencil, his number 314, Eagle “Chemi*Sealed” Draughting pencil. One semester when teaching a drawing class, he made a beautiful wooden box for his pencil. This jewel in the box illustrated the importance of taking care of a fine instrument to make art, as a violin is cared for to make music. This illustration of the moonstruck pencils is based on the graphic novel.

Like the pencil falling in love with another pencil, Don and Pam found a life together in art. Pam Burnley-Schol’s (b. 1952, Washington DC) sublime gold leaf still-life paintings are considered by the artist to be ‘secular icons.’ This relates to the preciousness of a family snapshot, something that is valued so much it is the first thing that one takes with them when escaping a fire or natural disaster. It can be an ordinary object that represents that connection with someone or some time in life that gives joy to the beholder.

The term, ‘secular’, is meant to be separated from the historic use of gold in icon painting. In art history, gold has represented light, as in the sun, which became linked to the gods. In Egypt, it was known as the ‘flesh of the gods.’ The Incas believed gold to be the seeds of the gods. Such assignments of gold transported to western art via paintings of Jesus and Mary and saints. Gold is still used in contemporary art, referencing its uses in early art history but creating new manifestations in the conceptual realm.

In Burnley-Schol’s still-life paintings, she gives thorough detail of the object, using the finest of brushes to show the intense beauty of design that is a bird, a nest, a flower, fruit, an insect. All these witnesses of life that are worthy of praise. And they are surrounded by the light of gold.”

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