LIFE AMIDST TREES:
Mary Pfaff paintings and drawings / Jennifer Ryder-Jones mixed-media constructions
Please join us for the opening on Sunday October 28, 2-4pm
Homage 40 x 60″ acrylic on canvas
Copper Woods 40 x 60″ acrylic on canvas
22 x 30″ graphite and pastel on Stonehenge paper:
A Walk In The Woods series 8 x 10″ Venetian plaster, acrylic paint, India ink, cold wax on panel
#1 #2 #3 #4
Mary Pfaff’s paintings and drawings explore life’s journey, the mysterious beauty of nature and the act of free expression. They are quietly powerful things that can dazzle your senses and fill you with emotion. Pfaff says, “to paint is my lifelong aspiration – and favourite verb!”
Attracted to Abstract Expressionist art at an early age, Mary has developed a distinctive visual language which, by its very nature, continues to evolve. Since graduating from the University of Ottawa’s Fine Arts program in 1990, she has initiated creative arts programs for use in healing and wellness, she has been a full-time studio artist and shared her joy of painting with others through teaching.
Mary approaches her work with determined energy, guided by instinct and intuition, digging deep into her creative soul. Rarely a realistic depiction of subject matter, it seeks to be an essence of it. She describes the process as “a full sensual experience, a wordless conversation: the sound of the brushes against the canvas, the smell, the touch, seeing, moving, changing and becoming.”
Whether working on canvas or paper, she builds up surfaces through brushwork and drawing with various media – acrylic paint, Venetian plaster, graphite, charcoal, pastels, cold wax – so that something from each preceding layer remains visible. She expresses through gestural drawing with equal measures of looseness and control. Her intuitive actions result in an orchestration of light and dark, colour, texture, line and form. One could think of them as ‘visual symphonies’.
Mary is inspired by experiences and landscapes – both external and internal. In recent years, long walks in the forests of Ontario, France and New Zealand have provided sanctuary and inspiration.
A specific tree that she came across this past summer left an indelible impression on her. Its immensity suggested a long and storied life, its enveloping shape a symbol of nurturing within the community of surrounding wildlife.
Forests are ever-changing places where all the senses come alive, offering a chance to slow the pace of life. The myriad plant and leaf forms are endlessly fascinating. Filtered light dances along the forest floor, gently coaxed by random gusts of wind. From their subterranean root systems to the tips of their tallest branches reaching towards the sun, trees are the dominant form in a forest – strong and impressive, providing a sheltering canopy for all other life.
Mary’s experience of trees has been transformative, revealing, nourishing, energizing. She has focused this energy directly into her work, aiming to capture the impression of forest life and the inner life of trees.
16 x 20″ Venetian plaster, acrylic paint, graphite on panel
Tiny Shoots Flourish Seed
22 x 30″ graphite and pastel on Stonehenge paper