Mary Pfaff earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (with distinction) from the University of Ottawa in 1990. Her nonrepresentational paintings and drawings have an atmospheric, lyrical quality, evocative of themes in nature and her personal life. Her aesthetic is inspired in part by the Japanese notion of wabi-sabi, where beauty is seen in imperfection and impermanence. The passage of time, fragility, and the interplay of light and darkness are all recognized and honoured in her work.
On both canvas and paper, the artist builds up intricate textural surfaces. The layers are created through brushwork, palette knives, and a variety of tools and media including acrylic, graphite, ink, charcoal, pastels, Venetian plaster, and cold wax. The artist describes her process as “a full sensual experience, a wordless conversation”.
Mary Pfaff’s works have been exhibited over the past three decades in solo and group shows in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Her works are held in the public collections of the University of Ottawa and the City of Ottawa, as well as private collections in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. She currently works from her studio in Almonte, Ontario.