Judy Pfaff Falk Visiting Artist

Weatherspoon Art Museum, 13 January – 17 April 2011

The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is pleased to present the exhibition Judy Pfaff: Falk Visiting Artist. The internationally renowned artist is one of the pioneers of installation art, which is work that is site-specific and three-dimensional. Since the 1970s, she has been on the forefront of combining aspects of sculpture, painting, and architecture to form dynamic works that transcend aesthetic boundaries. A skilled sculptor, printmaker, and painter, Pfaff’s unique process combines traditional and non-traditional techniques and incorporates materials derived from the man-made and natural worlds. For her installations, Pfaff collects materials and makes smaller sculptural components in her studio, which she brings with her to the site. She then arranges this visual information and constructs the actual piece in the gallery space. As a result, Pfaff relies on spontaneity and her great creative energy to produce an installation that responds to her environment. Her expansive, meandering works generate a strong emotional impact upon the viewer by transforming the way a space is experienced. Her intriguing list of materials for this exhibition includes Japanese lanterns, tree lichens, honeycomb cardboard, foam, and sunflowers. Pfaff explained in a gallery talk that many of the natural elements she places in the work are taken from her own garden, for example the tree limbs in the work River Road. Pfaff found the trunks in this work while they were floating down a river. Pfaff is also drawn to industrial and manufactured materials, such as expanding green foam and the honeycomb cardboard that she acquires directly from its inventor. Additionally, Pfaff works in the traditional artistic methods of woodcut and collage, which are included in the framed paper-based works in the exhibition. Pfaff described the pieces in this show as a reflection of her age, since they are darker in color and also in mood. After experiencing several tragedies in a short period of time, she took a departure from the bright colors and whimsical nature of her earlier work. Originally created for an exhibition at the University of Maryland, River Road was adapted by Pfaff specifically for the Weatherspoon’s Falk Gallery. The artist and her assistant worked on-site for more than a week to install the work, the title of which is inspired by a wooded road that runs along the Hudson River near Bard College in upstate New York. River Road is dense with materials, yet through the artist’s deft handling and innovative composition, it exudes a feeling of weightlessness. The work melds the natural world with the architecture of the gallery by engaging the sunlight and view of trees through the window. Judy Pfaff (b. 1946, London, England) earned a BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, and an MFA from Yale University. Pfaff’s work has been shown in the United States and abroad since 1973. She has had major solo exhibitions at the Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison (2002); Denver Art Museum (1994); St. Louis Art Museum (1989); and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (1982). Pfaff represented the United States in the 1998 São Paolo Biennial. Major artwork commissions include Pennsylvania Convention Center Public Arts Projects, Philadelphia; GTE Corporation, Irving, TX; Wacoal, Tokyo, Japan; and set design for a production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; and Weatherspoon Art Museum, among others. Pfaff was the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award (2004), as well as fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1983) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1979, 1986). She is Professor in the Arts and Co-Director of the Studio Arts Program at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Judy Pfaff is the Spring 2011 Falk Visiting Artist, a residency program produced collaboratively by the Weatherspoon and the Art Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro that includes a series of MFA graduate student critiques and artist talks. The exhibition is organized by Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions, Weatherspoon Art Museum. Special thanks to the 2010/11 Falk Visiting Artist Committee, Gay Dillard, Seymour and Carol Cole Levin, and Adeline and David Talbot for their support. On Tuesday, February 8 at 12 pm, there will be a free 20 minute docent-led tour of the exhibition as part of the Noon @ the ‘Spoon series. The group will meet in the Falk Gallery of the Weatherspoon Art Museum. click here : http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu/