Award Winning Designer and Environmental Artist Maria Torffield has spent the last several decades creating art across a host of platforms: Interdisciplinary Art Installations, Set Design, Sculpting, Painting, Welding, Environmental Design, Costume Design, Prosthetics for Television, and Projection Mapping. Having worked with major companies such as Saturday Night Live!, Netflix, PBS, numerous Opera companies within Germany and New York City, as well as Gem An Eye Arts in Brooklyn, and the Gallaudet Theater in Washington DC, Ms. Torffield has also pursued her own solo exhibitions, as well as national and international group exhibits.
Born in the East German town of Erfurt, Germany, Ms. Torffield began her art education training as a piano maker and tuner, specializing in intonation. Subsequently, she was accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. After studying under renowned Professor Guenther Horning, Ms. Torffield worked in design with several opera houses and theaters across Germany.
At the age of 24, in a Moscow airport enroute to Mongolia, Ms. Torffield met her future husband - a native New Yorker. After 2 years of cross-continental correspondence, the two wed in her hometown of Erfurt and moved to New York City.
Thrilled by the artistic opportunities of a big city, Ms. Torffield enrolled in classes at New York’s Parsons School of Design and soon found her niche in the NYC arts scene. Collaborating with some of NYC’s best, her love of unconventional performance spaces led her to partner with, and mentor, young Opera companies. She served as Head Designer for three Gramercy Opera productions: The Fairy Queen (in the park of Mount Vernon Museum in New York City); the opera, A Christmas Carol and Story of an Hour (both at the historic Montauk Club in Brooklyn). The new Jazz opera, Tabula Rasa, (in the industrial space of the Blue Building in Manhattan) also benefited from her input as Head Designer, as did Opera Pomme Rouge with her mobile stage design for Hansel and Gretel at both the Queens Museum and Queens Library.
While her experience is vast, her special interest lies with concern for the environment and nature. Completing her certificate in environmental design through the Boston Architectural College, she also co-founded the company Beehive Builders and conceptualized and designed a passive solar house. Built with high energy-efficient features and green building materials, the house achieved one of the highest energy performance ratings in the North East and was awarded First Place at the Pocono Builders Association for most energy-efficient design.
With nature as her greatest source for inspiration, Ms. Torffield’s present focus is on the elements of nature as they pertain to the development of public spaces. By investigating the effects of nature on the wellbeing of people in urban settings, she has developed a deep interest in the healing properties of water. After years of art exploration across a variety of fields, Ms. Torffield believes that the connection between creativity and our environment is more important now than ever.
Ms. Torffield latest project was an interactive project highlighting the four female Supreme Court Justices to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights. This installation will be displayed in front of the court house in Milford, PA.
Ceres Gallery, New York 2011-20
California Institute of Integral Studies, SF,2009
United Nation, New York, 2009
4-Heads, Governors Island, NY 2009
Visual AIDS, New York, 2009
NOHO NY Art Walk, New York 2004
Frauen Museum, Bonn, Germany, 2004
Memorial Design Competition for the World Trade Center, NY, 2003
Sculpture for 70NW Gallery, PA, 2002
Ceres Gallery, New York, 2001-2003
Bear Sculpture Project, Milford, PA, 2000 -2002
Ceres Gallery, New York 2000
City Museum St. Louis, MO, 2000
Ceres Gallery, New York 1999
Kingsborough Art Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, 1999
Ceres Gallery, New York 1998
MSU Art Gallery, Montclair, NJ, 1997
Sculpture Center, New York, 1994-96
Sculpture, Bronze, Ann Arbor, MI, 1994
Sculpture, Bronze, Valhalla, NY, 1994
Sculpture, Mixed Media, Rye, NY, 1991
First place: most energy-efficient environmental home,
Builders Association of Pennsylvania, 2006
Second Place: International “Living Place” Design Competition, 2013
Boston Architectural College, 2005-07
Certificate of sustainable design
The Cooper Union, New York, 2002
The Cooper Union, New York, 1997
Watercolor with Lisa Yuskavage
Sculpture Center New York, 1994-96
Welding, Bronze Casting
Fabrizio Art School New York, 1993
Parsons School of Design, New York, 1992-93
Sculpting the Clay Figure
Academy of fine arts Dresden 1981-86
Conceptualized and organized the Bear Sculpture Project in Milford PA for the Black Bear Film Festival. 2000-2003. Designed and built the most energy-efficient home in North-Eastern Pennsylvania.