The Anderson Gallery is pleased to show the work of Judy Pfaff, an internationally recognized artist who is often cited as a pioneer of installation-art and contributor to the Pattern and Decoration Movement. The solo exhibition showcases over 50 drawings and prints. Freehand is supported by a grant from the Iowa Arts Council.
"I vividly remember the first time I saw Judy Pfaff’s work because I was so taken with its energy and presence. The wild colors, overlapping textures, and varied materials and patterns were exuberant and felt refreshingly alive in the white gallery. As a viewer of Pfaff’s work, you become an explorer; experiencing the sensory microcosm she creates. This sense of immersion is also felt in her drawings and prints. Pfaff’s work is unexpected and intricate in its use of materials and colors and despite the moments of apparent chaos, there always is a feeling that Pfaff’s hand has directed these vibrant expressions with great thoughtfulness.
The group of drawings and prints exhibited here, highlight different points in Pfaff’s career, focusing on the last thirty years. Pfaff’s work employs a myriad of materials and imagery, yet botanicals and scenes of the natural world repeatedly appear, and it is this throughline that connects the works in this exhibition. From the delicate flowers and leaves of the Year of the Dog series to the organic patterns of the rOOster series to actual dried leaves in her newest works, Pfaff’s palette of images, gestures and colors celebrate the natural world and all its beauty. Walking into the gallery of visual overstimulation, produces a sense of wonder and maybe even awe, that can be found in our experiences of beauty in the world. Pfaff’s work feels like a celebration of living.
Judy Pfaff has had a long and impressive career as an artist and she is a pioneer of installation art. She has also spent much of career teaching in higher education, the past thirty, serving as a Professor of Art at Bard College. Her willingness to show her work in a small university gallery like ours, further demonstrates her commitment to educating young artists. I hope that the Drake community, and in particular our Art and Design students, experience this exhibition and that they feel the energy of Pfaff’s work and are compelled to live and create to the fullest."
— Lilah Anderson, Anderson Gallery Director