Joyce Pensato, Splitting hairs, 2008, charcoal and pastel on paper, 59.25×40.125 inches. Courtesy of Friedrich Petzel Gallery (535 West 22nd).
Friedrich Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new drawings by Joyce Pensato. In her exhibition of new charcoal drawings, Joyce Pensato returns to her iconic muses: Mickey, Donald, Felix the Cat, Homer, and Stan from South Park. These typical Warholian pop images are transformed through the act of Pensato’s drawing. Broken down to their most basic forms, the pop cartoon faces and bodies manifest as a series of swooping circles and slashed lines. This is Pensato’s starting point. By taking the image virtually by force, Pensato grinds, slashes and rubs the pastel and charcoal into the surface then sands in an Erased Dekooning style leaving the cloth fibers of heavy-stock watercolor paper exposed by the ware and tare. The violence and massive energy of the artist’s hand eliminates the status of the familiar pop image. Pensato infuses the expressive language of abstraction into these popular icons creating animated hybrids and frankensteins of the original. These various characters are transformed into psychological states that can be best described by the titles given: Abdominal Mickey, Evil Stan, The Donald.
On the far wall of the gallery Pensato will create one of her signature large wall drawings. The centerpiece installation emphasizes the architecture of the gallery. Much like the drawings on paper, hints of color poke through the deep dark build up and jet-like smears of charcoal as the wall is sanded and stripped, forcing paint to peel away and drywall plaster to be exposed. Pensato’s bursts of action and violent erasure meet with the pristine white of the gallery walls leaving moments of mayhem to be contemplated as supreme beauty.
Joyce Pensato was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has exhibited widely, including exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the St. Louis Art Museum. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Dallas Art Museum, and FRAC des Pays de la Loire, France, among others. She lives and works in Brooklyn. A catalog of her work with an essay by Gregory Volk is available at the gallery.