Continuing through January 21, 2017
“The Godmother” features New York artist Joyce Pensato’s enamel paintings and charcoal drawings of harshly rendered, classic cartoon characters — a subject matter that has come to be her trademark over the past 40 years. But, it’s the formal and aesthetic variations among the types of pieces that intrigue. In the artist’s large-scale, enamel paintings, eerily grinning Mickey Mouse faces and outsized, black and white cartoon eyes are lobbed onto the linen grounds with wide, dripping brushes.
Pensato’s charcoal drawings, however, are a different kind of maximalism. Through a process of vigorous drawing and equally intense erasing, her drawing materials have been strained to the extreme: charcoal marks in the blackest black, paper scarred with erased marks and literally peeling off where the eraser has pulled all the way through. Each of the corners bears the evidence of the paper being torn from their pins in the studio wall during their making. If Pensato’s mark is about the physical presence of herself, her gesture, then it’s in her drawings that we see the full dimension of what her hand is capable of. The paintings are simply an additive process, with layers upon layers of paint making a dense, glossy hull; but the drawings embody the dynamic tension of being overwrought to the verge of collapse.