Charlie Fox from Frieze magazine reviews Joyce Pensato's recent exhibition in London, 'FORGETTABOUT IT' (19 May – 24 June 2017). Excerpt below.
What do you get when you cross the contemporary derangement of American politics, various cartoon heroes (Homer Simpson, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck), the spectres of abstract expressionism and that dystopian goon Donald Trump? The huge new paintings in Joyce Pensato’s show, ‘FORGETTABOUT IT’, kid! Funny and sinister, they also provide the weirdest Mickeys’ since Keith Haring drew him, wide-eyed and with a UFO scanning his brain, in 1983. Aged 76, the Brooklynite has found a scuzzy strategy for capturing the madness of right now through pictures that look like broadcasts from a malfunctioning TV. Paint drools down canvas as noxiously as acid rain on chrome and any hints of Looney Tunes zaniness come spiked with something totally ghostly. Robert De Niro’s appearance on the wallpaper upstairs as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976; who remains hellishly relevant not only as a spree killer but also as the veteran of a hopeless war) is just one example of the American meltdown that Pensato chronicles in her work. The timeliness of such dystopian vibes is undeniable but Pensato’s paintings are also full of goofy delight: she makes mischief with her brush, just like Donald Duck in ‘Wet Paint’ (1946).
Image: Joyce Pensato, Landscape Mickey, 2017. Enamel and metallic paint on linen, 203.2 x 325 x 4 cm (80 x 128 x 1 5/8 in) © The Artisty; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.