The following are Thoughts from fellow Artists and Students about Celeste's Art, and Teaching practice:
Celeste is like a plant. She uses the world around her to negotiate how she grows. Does she climb walls, does she hang from the ceiling, does she take over the ground? And what are the sources for the subjects? They can be people, body parts, their mannerisms, or places, the waterscapes of Red Hook Brooklyn, she'll absorb it all. The amalgamation will be her form. Water, crayons, carrots, string, tree droppings etc. that is her material. Like she crochets, she internally spins out her relation to the world in object, environment experience, performance. She also likes to leave tokens of her understanding everywhere, fences, shopping centers, buildings, forests, people.
What Celeste does is the tension between what is nature and what is man made. Her material
interpretation of the immaterial always brings you back to the natural. The environments she
constructs and takes over present soothing atmospheres, like a neglected building taken over by vines and sprouts. Like that her work over takes, claims, and nurtures our humdrum and known surroundings. She also builds cocoons for people so that they too may experience a regeneration in
themselves. By breaking guardedness in many that allow her work to envelope them, her work
offers solace and a chance to be diverted by her inventiveness. After one does allow themselves to
enter her environs, they may marvel at the countless big and small inventions her hands produce.
A hat for a carrot, a crocheted home for a nose, a musical instrument made from tree, all
conversations she engages with her viewer letting them know what she's discovered and then asking whether they would perhaps like to participate some how. Her
viewer can subtract or add to her spaces, taking a keepsake or modifying something through their presence or intention. Her work above all is meant to be felt, interacted with, and reposed in.
So What does Celeste do? Does anything pop out in terms of things that she has done or made that have had more impact?
When I think about Celeste's art practice I don't think in terms of discrete objects, rather I think of Celeste as a kind of creative force. I like to tell people that Celeste doesn't decide to make some art- Celeste takes a break from stopping herself from making art; Celeste's art happens if you let it. Leave her in a room for a day and she will transform the whole thing. Like a silkworm or spider, Celeste is made to make installations. And a web is a very appropriate metaphor.
What pops out? I love the print that she gave me. I remember in her show, melting crayons into water and loving that. I also remember eyes everywhere. And feeling very safe inside the dome structure. I mean comfortable. Celeste is the opposite of pretension. Her work does not attempt to be cool, simply presents things that she has found, whether objects or activities or ideas. Celeste is like a very old child. Like someone who gets so old they've started over again.
-generative -flooding -warm
-natural -instinctual -earthly
It’s fun to think about the relationship between an artist and her medium. Like the similarities between a dog and its owner--correlating physical features, body types, personalities, coloring, etc. Or how couples tend to look like each other after being together for a while. Is the artist attracted to the material for those similarities, or does the artist subconsciously grow and form around those aesthetic qualities? Or is it all just me trying to make meaning out of nothing... All artists, to some extent, probably “look like their work”, but Celeste is an artists I know whose aesthetic touches on every part of their lives.
Celeste is thin, languid with a sharp eye that sees and connects everything. She is a nest maker, and I believe she designs her work to comfort the viewers, often taking them through her own childhood memories, in crocheted forts bedecked in butterflies with human-eyed wings, or seemingly naive crayon and ink drawings of intensely accurate portraits of her loved ones. Diaphanous is a word that constantly comes to mind to describe her work for me. She paints as though applying layers and layers of gossamer one over the other. No matter how much stuff she has going on in a piece, it’s still thin and ethereal. For Celeste, everything the world has to offer, (usually leaves and long bending unruly plants, twigs, feathers) is a treasure and a potential material for art. You will find the vestiges of New York’s parks and flora in her work, in pressed prints or as an illustrative motif or entwined in a beautiful nipple-like yarn object.
What I find so beautiful and unique about Celeste’s work is that it’s a direct translation of her mental workspace. It reminds me of those old spirit photographs of ectoplasm delicately oozing out of the medium’s navel or ear. We are seeing how Celeste sees the world, how she takes it in and makes something beautiful out of whatever crosses her path. I think her art is the contemplation and process of art making.
-Celeste encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and explore different styles
- She keeps me motivated without pushing me too hard but by allowing me to work at my own pace
-Her brightness as a teacher is an energy that i can rely on and receive from
- She makes things simple when they seem too complicated
-Celeste is a teacher who shows her students what passion really is
- Susan Cho
When I think about her as an artist, I often consider how Celeste locates resources. She uses things when they are abundant but quiet—refuse from trees, security guards. I think she tries to show how large an abundance of something is. Like taking photos of the guards—she notes that a silent interaction that occurs several times a day begins to store power. She has a great sense for image making that is often very active, and can contain many components at once. These photos were different in that they were not so busy or excited in composition—but they showed a power that was available around people. I think that is a phrase that works to describe her art, power that is available.
One of the most prominent memories I have of Celeste is how she would make french toast and other breakfast/lunch foods during my portfolio development class. I remember that she really cared about her students; at some point she had a small notebook and wrote her feedback of our works to keep track. On the whole, she is a very thoughtful artist and teacher with the most innovative ideas. Celeste also reminds me of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, but in the best possible way.And my college apps are nearly done! I completed my final pieces yesterday, and will be submitting my portfolio this/next week. I'm really nervous!! We all miss you at OOGIE ART!!
Aside from some big paintings Celeste had propped in her studio, I remember thoughts/feelings from her final show installation most:
+Celesté makes bedrooms out of a gallery
+draped fabric, like a canopy
+skein or skin, or diaphanous stuff, stuff that floats or levitates
+stuff that isn't altogether otherworldly, that is familiar, but at the same time contests physics and is about fancy or whim
+a lot of stuff. Things, brimming, to fill, clutter, attic, whirlwind, moments of ordering, moments of dissolve
+crayons, leaves, butterflies
+reminds me that in ancient greek, "butterfly" translates to "psyche"
+psychic, water spiritualism
+more about bigger stratosphere then little pieces
+happenings or images or collages that do stuff or are doing, that are verbs, instead of nouns
+ dadaist and surrealist, eyes
+like kid games without rules
My impression of the way Celeste goes about things - as well as the impetus for the things she make - has something to do with finding love and lovers, showing love, and communicating to loved ones and strangers.
Some pieces do standout for me, but I think it's because of how I relate to them personally. I feel that others experience her work in that way too, but they would also be attuned to things completely different and understand them in ways that I would never know. With that being said, I get fascinated by different parts in the installations and environments she create. Even in a specific piece, I get fascinated by specific aspects in that piece. In a similar way where Celeste seems to be fascinated by the things in her environments. CELESTE’S ENVIRONMENTS IS IMMENSE!!
From the time I've known Celeste, it seems that the things that fascinate her, their themes and rhythms, remain relatively constant. Those are many.
Borges wrote about what he wanted to write in his twenties and wrote about the same themes until he couldn't write in his eighties. A story published in 1972 called "the other" is about the meeting of younger and older Borges, HA! His stories of labyrinths, mirrors, communion, memories, dreams, etc. are interwoven in volumes and volumes of stories throughout his life. There is this circularity in the passing of time in both yours and his work that seem to have an improbable existence, yet that's what being a person is in this world. not many artists work in that way because people don't generally think in that way, and if they do, they don't generally behave in that way.
This is the website which has music (turn up your volume) of a beautiful singer who I met in Harlem. She has invited me (through a construction friend) to sing with her group!
she dances in live performance and walks about the audience and beats her chest (softly), I think her performance, her work, her relationships to everyone around her, are like yours. They are entirely open, they do not turn inward.
Some of the most impressive musicians and performers I know are very introvertive, they kinda work themselves into a very internal space, in front of everyone, which can expose something personal and it is beautiful to see them talking with themselves.
However, Dana and you use space to open up to others and try to open them up. She opens up her arms to the crowd and welcomes them in, and her smiles lead the audience into her world.
The Long Leaf Pine Needle weavings are +++magical++++
What sticks out most is Celeste’s sensitivity to interaction. Celeste’s work welcomes folks to explore it and come close. in that action, walls are broken down and people begin to speak with one another, realizing heat they are all equally new to the work. we begin to explore together. I keep thinking about her senior show, at Cooper Union and all my studio visits to her magic caves.
She Ripped A Pinecone off a Tree and Flexed while doing it!
Celeste sometimes feels like a ghost. She has the ability to put me into a deep trance and when she is away, I find little remnants of her for months. She’s a collector and a hauler. Her backpack is huge. When it opens - pow - we are swimming!
I am always struck by the force of it all.
We walked in a park once - and she eyed a big pine cone growing on a tree. And then she ripped it off! And, I remember being a little shocked - because I would never do that. That she just went right up to it and ripped it off the branch! It makes me laugh because I really like - that she is so tender and full force at the same time. And - the pine cone? It became so many things. Now, it’s hanging on my bedroom and I look at it every day. That’s a big lesson she taught me about making. Everything is in play. Everything will find its place in time. I mean, in time, everything will find its place.
She just takes it to the next level with this force thing. That’s what makes me think of her more like a gust of wind rather than a breeze.
That’s all for now - I’ll add more as it comes.
I would say I have a special window into Celeste's creative world. So that probably makes my view on things important, but also more subjective than someone who does not know her so well, and just knows her art. In terms of things that Celeste has done that were the most effective, I think the dialogue that she started with the prints in her final show was really great. It was fresh and uninhibited, it gave her ideas a cohesive structure that is often lacking (usually by choice) in her other work. This is because of the process of making prints, and the ways she plays with originals, copies, impressions, changing variables.
Celeste’s studio in the 9th floor of the New Academic Building at The Cooper Union, was also really great; everything was talking to something else. But I feel I know this from having intimate time with Celeste in that space so I became aware how things were changing and talking to each other.
maybe Celeste should try to make art that requires a certain amount of structure and discipline, as a counter-agent to her own style which is much more all over the place. opposites attract.
But to really answer the question, "what does celeste do?" needs a bigger answer. Because what Celeste is really doing, is not just about how things look. I think what she does is breath life into objects and materials, so that they can have their own life cycles.It is like she is tending a greenhouse of objects and images. She is a cultivator and a nurturer. This is also true of her interaction with people, which is very important. Celeste is a catalyst for positive energy and enthusiasm and growth amongst people and communities wherever she goes.
- Willis Bigelow
1.) A remembered Quote:
In 2010 USA's Internationally Recognized Urban Intervention Artist Denis Adams called Artist Celeste Pfau & her installations, "Effervescent!"
2.) Danica's words and phrases:
Celeste's artwork is-
“Inclusive, welcoming and playful!” ...
“FREE! Celeste performances reveal a liberated and free spirit” ...
"Celeste has a refreshing and loving eye for the artistic-potential within all elements, (both natural and man-made) that surround us ALL throughout our everyday lives"...
“Experimental!! Joyous - JOYOUS!!” “Celeste artwork is a joy to experience in person.”...
“Exuberant!! Celeste is an Installation Artist =INTERACTIVE”...
3.) A Quote From Draco Adollphus B :
"...It has been my pleasure to know and experience Pfau's artwork over the years.[...] To step into a space transformed by Celeste Pfau is to take in a garden of delights."
Multimedia Artist Danica Barboza of DracoB.com says..
" Celeste Pfau, a free spirited artist, enjoys working with natural materials and designing installations. Experimenting with a variety of mediums and modes of expression,Pfau has tackled everything from Printmaking & Photography to Painting & Performance Art.The voice of her artwork organically runs a wide gamut, varying in tone from the Thoughtfully Introspective to the Vibrantly Effervescent! "