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Arts & CultureExhibit: 'Mary Pfaff: Companions'

Exhibit: ‘Mary Pfaff: Companions’

Sivarulrasa Gallery, Almonte

A solo exhibition, Feb 17 to Mar 26, 2021

Gallery re-opening: We will re-open for in-person visits as of 1pm on Wednesday February 17, 2021. Our regular in-person hours going forward will be Wed-Sun 11am to 5pm. Please wear a mask, use hand sanitizer at the entrance, and follow our markings for physical distancing. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Artist Talk & Virtual Vernissage: Wednesday Feb 24, 7:00pm-8:00pm. Artist Mary Pfaff will join us live via Zoom to talk about her work and inspiration, and read from her favourite poems.  You can join us from the comfort of your home through a video link that can be accessed on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Please email us at and we will send you the link.

Sivarulrasa Gallery is delighted to open our exhibition schedule for 2021 with Mary Pfaff: Companions, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Almonte-based artist Mary Pfaff. Born in Clinton, Ontario, 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.

The fourteen new paintings in Companions were completed by the artist during the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic. During these uncertain times, the artist chose to celebrate things that “endure throughout the seasons of our lives”. Mary Pfaff sees the word “companion” as a multi-faceted reference to relationships. It could refer to a relationship between two people; or a pair of things intended to complement each other. “To make a painting is like developing a relationship”, she says. “The more encounters you have the more close you become.”

Several of the works are inspired by the artist’s favourite poems. The large 60 x 30 inch canvas “Beyond” is inspired by Rumi’s famous verse: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” The cascading sea of blue in this work is Mary Pfaff’s visualization of the doorway that leads to this field of non-judgment. The 60 x 40 inch canvas “Conversing with Trees” references trees near the artist’s home – it is inspired by Mary Oliver’s poem “When I’m among trees”.

On both canvas and paper, Mary Pfaff 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”. She uses sponges to remove areas of paint, scraping off layers with scraping tools and squeegees. “It is important to leave some traces suggesting history and passage”, she notes.

For more information and available works, visit our Exhibition Webpage:

A video clip will be posted soon to our Virtual Gallery:


34 Mill Street, Almonte, ON





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