An honours graduate from the faculty of fine arts at the University of Ottawa in 1990, Mary Pfaff’s works appear in solo and group exhibitions in Ottawa, Toronto and New York. Pfaff’s work can be found in the City of Ottawa public art collection, most notably at Centrepointe theatre and are purchased by private collectors throughout Canada, California, the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa and New Zealand. Mary is a respected visual arts teacher, an avid art and health advocate and a recognized community art collaborator.
To paint is my lifelong aspiration and favourite verb.
I’m inspired by the mysterious power and beauty of nature and besotted with the sensuality and physicality of paint. My abstract compositions, I think of as journeys, investigate form, colour and texture. Using an intuitive and adventurous approach I enjoy exploring lush textured surfaces and intricate layers of colour. I favour working in in large formats – often in diptychs and triptychs. Small or large, my work is always part of a specific series.
I’m drawn to the spiritual in art and fascinated by the profound capability of art to empower and transform individuals and communities.
The reason I choose to paint is to offer people through my expression, an opportunity to pause and lose themselves in something absorbing even lovely and perhaps in response to imagine fresh possibilities.
I am grateful every day to be able to work from my wonderful, spacious studio on 15 Bridge Street right across from the Old Town Hall in the charming town of Almonte where I live. My husband Richard Starnes and I fortunately get to travel to visit our children and grandchildren who live across the globe in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Scotland and California. These trips recharge my creative energy and love of process.
To view my CV please click here.
Arts and Health
Working for over 20 years in the inspiring field of arts and health, I am an international presenter and leading advocate for engagement in the arts and creative process to effect positive change in the quality of life and sense of well being for individuals and communities. I recently served as the arts for wellness coach for cancer survivors with the Ottawa Cancer Foundation at Maplesoft Center and is the Founder and former Director of Artswell, an arts and healthcare charity organization.
For many years I designed and implemented innovative arts programs and projects for all ages using the arts as a healing agent for self-expression, empowerment, insight, recovery, rehabilitation, respite and prevention.
In 2014, under the auspices of the University of Ottawa Humanities and Medicine program, I launched an exciting visual arts based project Creativity: the Essential Prescription. As the faculty Artist in Residence I worked within the medical school to facilitate artistic and creative expression in others.