Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Studio Arts


Judy Pfaff

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Cut, twist, tie, braid, stick, gather, squeeze. These, along with many other transformative actions, were verbs I had attributed to my sculptural work. I relied on the possibilities of material transformation to ‘make’ sculpture. I was bored.

Then, I fell in love.

Around the same time I fell in love, I fell in love again (the first time with a man, the second time with a color). I found ‘Screech Orange’ in a dry pigment form at Guerra Paints and Pigments. Knowing nearly nothing of mixing and forming colors, nothing of painting, I was struck by the dominance of ‘Screech Orange’ up on the shelf. A bright spectacle, a foreign florescent, TO DIE FOR! I wanted that color everywhere, in my hair, in between my toes. I wanted my skin to be and glow that color. I wanted to be that fantastic plastic. In ‘Screech Orange’, I found both a physical representation of the overwhelming romance I was experiencing and a challenge for my studio – to work with material outside of myself.

In taking time with color, painting onto the walls in my studio, dying fabric, generating tonal variations through computer printed images, I slowly began to push the content of my studio work. Through a color narrative, a landscape emerged: a California sun, a morning light. A mood formed that reflected my attitude towards romantic love. Intimacy with another can transform daily experience. How you see, sense, touch, and respond can shift, intensify, and explode with possibilities. The potential power of love to simultaneously break all that is known while creating an acute awareness of what is really happening is, for me, the same potential of art. Drawing this parallel allowed me to make work not about my singular relationship with the man I fell in love with, but through it.

I had feared developing work in which I demanded content for myself. I had feared my body, my sex life, and my personal experience as places to make work through. Working from these fears I have found myself standing firmly behind a new aim and challenge: that my work be generous to, and trusting of, its audience.

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