Pamela Wolfe was born in England in 1950 and immigrated to New Zealand at the age of three. She studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University from 1968 to 1971, graduating with a Diploma of Fine Arts.
After completing her studies Wolfe moved to Christchurch with her husband Richard and daughter Emily, where she had her first solo exhibition at the Labyrinth Gallery in 1976. Wolfe and her family returned to Auckland in 1977, and she has continued to exhibit regularly (both in solo and group shows) over the past thirty-nine years.
Over her long career Wolfe’s subject matter has varied from highly coloured representations of the local landscape, to detailed still-life studies and then on to what she is so widely known for today – her larger than life, richly textured paintings of flowers over their life cycles. The subtle technique in which Wolfe portrays the fragility of these specimens has been honed over nearly twenty years and highlights the transient nature of beauty.
The contrast of the sumptuous blooms and foliage against the black (and more recently, the grey) textured backgrounds from which they emerge, gives an extravagant sensuality to the works and references Dutch still-life painting of the 17th century. The motif is also suggestive of the rich soil from where the delicate blossoms begin their lives. Wolfe enlarges the flowers to fill the picture plane and enhances the feeling of seeing these blooms from a butterfly’s perspective.
Wolfe’s work can be found in corporate, private and public collections throughout New Zealand. Pamela is also a successful book illustrator and has worked on number of books with her husband, writer Richard Wolfe.