I was living for a month in Rome. Outside of my studio window where I was living the view offered a pulsating rhythm that I could adapt into painterly marks. I was able to play with color, shifting between architecture. Just like jazz music takes melody riffs – playing with what is in sight and making it more personal and rhythmic, I was inspired to reintroduce imagery to my work.
While the layering, and the contrast between stenciled and hand-drawn marks in a wide vocabulary of signs, suggest the influence of Photoshop on contemporary visual culture, they remain rooted in the overall space that Werfel once pursued in painting outdoors. As a daily swimmer, Werfel compares the act of painting to the movement of her body through water, an apt metaphor for her immersive compositions; if living in Northern California for the past eighteen years has inspired her to move beyond literal depictions of nature, it has only intensified her search for unity within the fragmentation of contemporary experience. As suburbia and commerce encroach on the monumental Western landscape, encounters with nature become more intimate and fleeting, yet are no less intense and deeply felt; they lurk in the suggestions of organic connections that animate her densely worked compositions.
Werfel’s recent solo exhibitions include the Coombs Gallery at American University of Paris, France, Korn Gallery at Drew University, NJ and Prince Street Gallery in NYC. She has been awarded residencies at the American Academy in Rome, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy, the International School in Montecastello di Vibio, Italy and Yosemite National Park. In 2017, Werfel completed Clearing, a multi-panel public art commission for Burnett Miller Park in Sacramento, CA. Werfel’s training includes Columbia University (MFA), NY Studio School (Certificate) and Hamilton College (BA). She is a Professor of Art at University of California Davis.