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Joyce Pensato


Joyce Pensato — Born 1941, Brooklyn, New York. Lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York. Passed away in 2019. Represented by Petzel Gallery, New York; Lisson Gallery, London/New York/ Shanghai; and Timothy Taylor, London/New York.


Joyce Pensato painted exuberant and explosive large-scale likenesses of cartoon characters and comic-book heroes. Her seemingly frenzied technique –  involving the deliberate accretion of successive layers of bold linear gestures, rapid spattering and frequent erasures – results in alternately humorous and sinister imagery. While her prima facie subject matter ranged from Batman, The Simpsons and Mickey Mouse to Felix the Cat and Elmo from Sesame Street, her artistic progenitors include Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Philip Guston. Taking much of her material from her surroundings in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York – from graffitied walls to hand-scrawled shop signs – Pensato painted almost exclusively in shop-bought black and white enamel, while also employing charcoal and pastel for smaller-scale drawings. Pensato's oversized murals, often taking weeks to complete, were additional leaps away from the studio-based, monochrome world she generally inhabited, as were her sporadic bursts of colour, especially silver and gold. 


Pensato studied at the Art Students League and the New York Studio School, where she shared a studio with lifelong friend Christopher Wool and met mentor Joan Mitchell. Pensato is the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the Robert de Niro, Sr. prize in 2013, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 1997, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996. Today, Pensato’s works are held in the collections of, among others, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles, and the museum of Modern Art in San Fransisco.


Bad Girls 2021 - Featured Work

Joyce Pensato - Bart, 2008.JPG

Joyce Pensato

Bart, 2008

enamel on linen

122 x 102 cm - 48 x 40.2 inches

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