Daily Art Moment: Judy Pfaff

Image descriptions: Judy Pfaff, Untitled, 1981, contact paper and paper; 23-½ x 33 in. 1. A detail shot of spikey irregular paper shapes in metallic magenta, silver, electric yellow, copper, and neon orange layered atop each other. 2. Thinly cut paper swirls and zig-zags in clouds of energetic colors layered in a riotous abstract collage. A metallic silver and black background grounds the rectangular composition. From top right, spikey black, neon orange, and electric yellow spikey shapes pour into a swirl of black and white curls. From the left, a red spiral emits an orange spray with yellow and metallic electric blue accents. From the bottom, a whirlpool of white and black lines erupts into orange and black zig-zags. They coalesce in a metallic copper spiral lined with white circular shapes.
Judy Pfaff (American, born 1946), Untitled, 1981, contact paper and paper, image: 23 1/2 in x 33 in, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and Contemporary Art Council. Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, 81.52

Judy Pfaff is an innovator, acclaimed for her groundbreaking work in installation art during the 1970s. At a time when minimalism was prized, she approached spaces with maximal intention, filling galleries with maze-like accumulations of materials in linear and geometric shapes. Some have called it “painting in space.” Pfaff’s works on paper, like the one in the Portland Art Museum collection, have a similar quality of high energy as many pieces of cut and collaged paper fill the surface. A dynamic range of bright colors and reflective surfaces stimulate the vision and capture the attention through an array of details. Untitled is currently on view on the second floor of the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art and even though it’s smaller in stature than other works nearby, it packs a visual punch. I hope you’ll take a close look on your next visit!

Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Judy Pfaff (American, born 1946), Untitled, 1981. Contact paper and paper. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and Contemporary Art Council, 81.52 © Judy Pfaff

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