Lydia Maria Pfeffer
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lydia Maria Pfeffer is a Painter, who is currently an MFA candidate of the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC). Born and raised in a small village in Austria, Pfeffer grew up with art and music as leisurely, everyday activities, more in the form of tradition than academic training. She left home at the age of nineteen and traveled the world, settling first in London and later in New York, where she lived for 11 years and where she also began to study Fine Arts.
Pfeffer came to painting via music and performance, and these influences can be seen in her theatrical approach to painting. She takes her cue not only from personal experience with pagan (now Christianized) traditions, such as the “Krampus”, fairy- and folk tales and literature, but also myths and stories from around the world to create personal epics and a cosmos where her shape shifters and hybrid creatures live.
Pfeffer’s worlds are built and made visible through the intense and intimate exploration of material (oil, acrylic, soft pastels and charcoal) and a continuous dialogue between the canvas and Pfeffer’s psyche. Shape shifters themselves, these paintings are structured and built through constant reworking and go through vigorous scrutiny and metamorphosis until Pfeffer decides: “Credo quia absurdum.”
A narrative painter, she prompts an intense, unbroken continuum of destruction and creation. The outcome is a visual testimony between intuition, contemplation and craft. Her approach is a spiritual as well as a formal one.
“I begin with a whimsical, intuitive line drawing, step back and start digging out figures, shapes, spaces…content…I create in order to explore, find and make sense of the world. I paint, destroy and reconstruct, which creates a history for the painting, just like it would for a person. The painting acquires an identity, a narrative, whose interpretation is heavily influenced by the viewers personal experience as a human and associations with symbolism, social conditioning and psychology. In order for the painting to give itself over to me, I have to first give myself over to the painting without being afraid of what it might eventually look like, or more importantly, what it could do to me. “
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