Judy Pfaff is one of America’s most celebrated innovators of installation art and an ongoing force in the redefinition of the medium of drawing. Kharis Kennedy is a gifted and deeply expressive painter whose 6 years living in the Caribbean have added a vein of dark spirituality to her exploration of values surrounding fashion, the nature of the self, and what the body knows.
Since the 1970’s, Judy Pfaff has been creating vigorous, sprawling dynamic two and three dimensional art. Pfaff’s work has been called “cosmic,” seemingly without beginning or end, but with many places to pause, observe and consider. Her taste for the visual world is omnivorous – things organic, architectural, geographic, astronomical, sacred and symbolic surface and intertwine in her installations and drawings. For ART100 Gallery, Pfaff is reconfiguring her immersive installation piece Turtle, a harmonic swirl of plexiglass, tree stumps, airline cable, LEDs, resin, tape, foam and digital prints. And she is creating a new series of mixed media drawings. Among her many honors, Pfaff is the recipient of MacArthur and American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellowships. Her work has been featured in three Whitney Biennials; it is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and those of numerous other institutions. She continues to grow her mastery of line and space, and her illuminating exploration of new visual vocabularies extends to these gestural, multilayered drawings.
Kharis Kennedy approaches objects and the body as sites of knowledge, repositories of awareness that can be resourced in the service of personal discovery. Her painting explores values and identity, gender, race, and power through images of fashion, wealth, status and self indulgence. During her six years residing in the Caribbean, she says, these concerns have been inflected by a “dark spiritual resource” which was new and unexpected. Kennedy’s Fixed Value series pits the measurable: light, weight, and energy -- the physical elements of painting -- against the works’ emotional evocativeness. The White Collar Goes Black series picks at neo-imperialism rooted in Kennedy’s direct experience with Doctors Without Borders, and registers her unease with the disjunction between the helpers and the helped. Touch Has a Memory is a series of life scale images of women and their spirit animals. Kennedy maintains that she is not a political artist, but very much a visual artist. Her gripping paintings result from an intuitive layering process. She builds and shifts layers of glue with pigment “until the composition begins to emerge.” The finished pieces are highly textural, and carry the surface allure of glazed ceramic.