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Judy Pfaff

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Judy Pfaff

American, b. 1946
Wayne State University; Southern Illinois University; Washington University (BFA); Yale University (MFA)
Bard College

A celebrated and widely-shown artist, Judy Pfaff, while best known for her elaborate installations, also works in sculpture, painting, and prints. While born in London, Pfaff has lived in The United States since she was thirteen years old. As she studied painting at Yale’s MFA program (1973), her mentor, artist Al Held, remarked that her interest in volume and space should be taken into three dimensions. Ever since, Pfaff’s complex environments have been organic in subject although constructed with flagrantly man-made materials. Capturing volume through intricately layered lines, Pfaff allows improvisation to drive her work towards movement and uniqueness.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Pfaff has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship (1983, National Endowment for the Arts grants (1979, 1986), and a MacArthur Fellowship (2004). The International Sculpture Center awarded Pfaff a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, and the National Academy gave Pfaff an Excellence in Sculpture Award in 2015. In 1994, Pfaff started in her professorship at Bard College, where she continues to teach.

Several of the works in her most recent print series through Tandem Press share the ellipses style of title. Pfaff’s travels to India influenced her most recent print series, particularly the colorful, layered patterning of kantha blankets. For …wind-deer and the honey-grass…, Pfaff utilized innovative print processes, which Tandem Press describes as:

“The use of hand painted dye or ink is present throughout all of the prints included in this new series of work. The larger horizontal prints also include Pfaff’s signature layering of images through a physical layering of paper. Two of these prints, Evening Raga and …wind-deer and the honey-grass…, use a clear plastic film to create the layered effect. In these pieces, images are printed onto the clear film using a wide-format archival inkjet printer. On the back of the film, white ink was painted behind the printed images to highlight details and patterns in the design. This piece of film was then layered over the background of the print. “

Pfaff’s works have been featured in over 100 exhibitions, and her work is collected by the Detroit Institute of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The High Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

[Source: Museum Staff]

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