Ameringer McEnery Yohe
Ameringer & Yohe Fine Art is pleased to present the installation Neither Here Nor There as the artist Judy Pfaff's inaugural exhibition with the gallery. A pioneer of installation art, Pfaff has been exploring and perfecting this form of expression since the early 1970's. On view from 4 September through 11 October 2003, this exhibition for the 57th Street gallery will be celebrated with an opening reception for the artist on Thursday, 4 September from 6:00 - 8:00pm.
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Born in England in 1946, Pfaff moved to the United States as a young girl with her parents and later obtained her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Her next few years were formative ones, studying with her mentor Al Held while working towards her MFA from Yale University. It was at this point that she began to express her frustration with the constraints imposed by the rectangular format of the canvas. Held encouraged her to move beyond these limitations and to "start moving around the walls." As Pfaff's career progressed she became a mixed media artist, incorporating a number of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and architecture, which when combined, create an environment that is an interactive experience for the viewer.
An installation is not exactly a painting, and it's not exactly sculpture. It's a kind of editing and splicing of the complex freneticism I see around me. We live in an unsettled, unstable world. It is raucous and staccato: The nerve centers are constantly changing. And an installation, with its total openness, allows me to plunge into that spacey void and edit the chaos into a dramatic and sensuous environment.*
Pfaff began her work on Neither Here Nor There by carefully studying the gallery's architecture. By building a replica of the gallery in her studio, she was then free to begin to create within the definitions of the space and determine how she could defy its limitations. Pfaff's art is largely autobiographical and with this installation she was influenced by her renovation of her new Victorian home/studio in upstate New York. These personal experiences are then expanded to reflect the events of the greater world community. With this work Pfaff has undertaken building four structures that in turn reflect differing architectural styles from around the world. It is important to her, however, that these four structures do not seem separate from the whole. With a complex geometric network of steel and cutouts in the otherwise view-obstructing walls, Judy Pfaff has created a cohesive installation evocative of both private and global worlds.
*Judy Pfaff as quoted in "The Way of Judy Pfaff," by Sanford S. Shaman on the occasion of Southern Oregon University's Schnieder Museum of Art 2001 exhibition Transforming Traditions.