Mary Pfaff and Andrea Vuletin: Florescence, Spring to Summer

Spring is the season we anticipate all winter long. Watching plants sprout from the earth brings an incomparably joyous feeling. So it’s not uncommon that artists should be inspired to portray this amazing period of flourishing.

Two artists who interpret the season in different ways but with similar enthusiasm are painter Mary Pfaff and potter Andrea Vuletin.  Florescence, Spring to Summer is a feature exhibition of their most recent work at General Fine Craft from June 6 – July 30.

American poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the existential experience.” These are words loaded with meaning for Almonte’s Mary Pfaff. In fact, words are often a starting point for her intuitive, expressive abstract paintings.

For Pfaff, spring conjures a lush life: a time of transformation, unfolding, revealing, nourishment and new energy. She feels that all spaces have beauty but gardens are an exciting, ever-changing place where all the senses come alive. They have been a recurring theme for her – fueling memories, offering a chance to slow the pace of life for a time, and providing a sanctuary where nothing is pre-determined.

She finds that revisiting a garden is seldom the way she remembers it, leading her to ponder on the fleeting act of remembering. “Entering a garden is like passing through a mystical gate. Things are not the same on the other side.” (Thomas Moore)

Gardens are filled with a myriad of colours, light and textures that create a sort of visual dance. Pfaff wanted to capture this lush dance in her new work. To do so, she utilized negative (‘thin’) space to contrast the more pigmented areas. She found that the wood panel surface changed dramatically after applying plaster to it. The way the paint flowed onto the surface felt different and exciting, allowing her to scratch and draw through to the sub-straight with new feeling.

The sense of adventure – this dance of creativity – is one aspect of Pfaff’s work that never changes.

Imagination is of course an enormous part of an artist’s life and livelihood. Throughout winter, potter Andrea Vuletin was hard at work in her studio ‘imagining’ spring in order to create a body of work for this exhibition.

Vuletin’s work is revered by pottery and plant enthusiasts alike. An avid naturalist, she is inspired by the flora and fauna of Point Pelee and Rondeau Parks near her home in Chatham, Ontario. In particular: blooming perennials, native wildflowers, insects and orchids. She also loves to visit the Purdon Conservation Area near McDonald’s Corners to see its vast Lady Slipper orchids.

She has a decorative plan in mind when forming her pottery on the wheel or by slab construction. Her shapes reflect the gentle curves of plants emerging from the earth, a lightness and sense of movement that implies growth, and volumetric form that represents inner breath. The animated forms provide a framing element for her lyrical, finely incised and painted insect and botanical imagery.

An interesting surface design element is the addition of fine circles representing the field of vision through a magnifying glass. This allows her to map out the composition, proportions and to enhance focal points.

Despite the enormous amount of work that goes into her pottery, the intention is entirely humble. Vuletin says, “As always, I hope my pots are used to celebrate every single day.”

While Mary Pfaff’s interpretations of ‘florescence’ are innately abstract and Andrea Vuletin’s are more in the realm of realism, both artists’ convey universal ideas of renewal.  General Fine Craft invites you to experience the different perspectives they explore and how the exhibition captures the colourful energy of this wondrous season.

Please join us for the opening and meet both artists on Sunday June 18, 2017 from 2-4pm.

63 Mill Street, Almonte ON.  www.generalfinecraft.com