HOLY SHIT!: ‘Run Amok’ Judy Pfaff
Written by: Efrem Zelony-Mindell

Mysterious realities wrapped inside juxtaposing parts—asymmetrical and eclectic. Electricity meets with recurring patterns one would find in nature. There is something beyond organism in Judy Pfaff’s work Run Amok, showing at Loretta Howard Gallery and Pavel Zoubok Gallery. Pfaff has constructed an organic practice that has a way of commenting on the state of nature in a digital world, or digitalism living on the face of a natural world. The exciting thing about the work is how these ideas coagulate and become very obscured inside one another.

Pfaff is able to find the subtlety of her materials; the music of these sculptures pours through, a cappella …

All secrets exposed in these works, creating new levels of imagination, answering questions while raising new ones in regard to the achievement of these compositions. Fluorescent lights behind layers of sculpture, wires dangling, becoming a part of the work’s gesture. In this way Pfaff is pushing past the minimalism of Dan Flavin, marrying the light and its secretive parts with a larger sculpture. Usage, functionality, composition, and structure, all meet in a very alarmingly loud way.  Yet somehow Pfaff is able to find the subtlety of her materials; the music of these sculptures pours through, a cappella.

A meeting of very unconventional mediums leaves a viewer with a lot of difficult, rewarding and mindful visual language to read into. Tree trunks intertwined in twisted steel rods filling a room, like living underground in the elaborate city of a tree’s root system. Pfaff’s works and practice play off of ideas established by great artists like Eva Hesse, pouring and building elaborately gestural sculptures with plastics and synthetics. There are no hard transitions from where natural elements meet obviously hand crafted parts as they become continuous in thanks to Pfaff’s treatment. The pieces take time and are timeless in that they reach to the works and conversations of El Anatsui and further back to tribal art.

I was lucky enough to have a talented artist as well as one of Judy Pfaff’s contemporaries, Gillian Jagger, recommend this show to me. And now I have to insist on the significance of this show and its work. It is heart stopping, new, detailed and ground breaking for Pfaff. She continues to push her strengths, skills, and understanding of composition by, as always, adding new inventive elements to the work, which are instantly rewarding for the viewer.

Judy Pfaff’s shows have been extended through December. Catch them both at 525-531 West 26th Street New York at Loretta Howard Gallery and Pavel Zoubok Gallery.

Efrem Zelony-Mindell is an artist who lives in New York. For more of his work click here …

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