mary pfaff



Mary Pfaff is a Canadian abstract painter living and working primarily in Almonte, Canada. She also frequently paints in New Zealand when spending time with her daughter and family.

Mary graduated with distinction in Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa in 1990. Since then she has shown extensively as a solo artist and as part of group exhibits, locally and in centres like Toronto and New York. In Ottawa, Mary’s work can be found in the City of Ottawa Public Art Collection, most notably at Centrepoint Theatre. Her paintings and drawings are part of private collections in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. A recognized community art collaborator, Mary is an international presenter and a leading advocate for engagement in the arts. She is known for her focus on the creative process and how it affects positive change in our quality of life and our sense of well-being; both as individuals and communities.


My atmospheric, lyrical paintings and drawings explore life’s passages and emotions, inspired by the mysterious beauty and power of nature. I’m attracted to the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi, where the evidence of the course of time, imperfection, impermanence and fragility are recognized and honoured. My works inspire an orchestration of light and dark, evocative textures, gesture in form.

On both canvas and paper, I build up intricate textural surfaces essentially creating a cumulative story. Technically, these layers are largely created through brushwork and a variety of tools and drawing media – acrylic paint, graphite, ink, charcoal, pastels, Venetian plaster and cold wax.

I describe my process as “a full sensual experience, a wordless conversation: the sound of the brushes against the canvas, the smell, the touch, seeing, moving, changing, becoming.”

I think of creative expression as gift of human kindness that connects us and allows to imagine new possibilities.

To view my CV please click here.

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