Born in London in 1946, Judy Pfaff settled in America at the age of thirteen. She attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois and the Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk, Connecticut. She received a Bachelor of Fine arts degree from Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University.
In 1983 Pfaff was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for sculpture and in 1984 she received the Bessie Award for her set design for “Wind Devil”, a Brooklyn Academy of Music production by the Nina Weiner Dance Company. In 1997 she became a Fellow of the Saint Gaudens Memorial and in 1998 she was a Professor of Art and Co-Chair of the Art Department at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson in New York.
In a series of long, horizontal prints, Pfaff first created highly detailed plates made of circles and concentric circles, inscribed lines and outlines of hands. Similar to her large-scale installations, these prints have a three-dimensional presence and a flowing quality. Each print is finished with hand-applied fabric dyes and encaustic paint.
In some of her prints, Pfaff uses images from Indian Sanskrit ledger books and stenciling from computer laser shapes of plants taken from scientific journals.