Anne Sherwood Pundyk is a feminist artist, new genre painter and a writer. Known for staging radical performances, events and readings at such places at the Whitney Museum of American Art, it might take a minute to realize Pundyk's new series of abstract paintings exhibited in "The Revolution Will Be Painted" doesn't represent a continued call for feminism or social activism. Instead, the paintings issue a call for painting itself to revolutionize the role this form of mark making plays in art. The phrase itself is an homage to Gil Scott-Heron's song, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (1970) advocating Black Power.
In the new series, Pundyk seeks to create a role for painting as an integral part of performance or as catalyst for engagement and debate that goes beyond a discussion of the art works. In fact, whether or not to consider Pundyk's paintings in "The Revolution Will Be Painted" as art objects alone could be one of the first questions Pundyk would like to compel those viewing the work to ponder.
Currently installed through May 1, 2016 at Christopher Stout Gallery in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, Pundyk considers the six exhibited paintings on unfinished canvas as a site-specific installation that becomes activated through performance and all interactions inside the gallery space. This is in contrast to an exhibition that would have presented the six paintings as the focus of the curated exhibition as is typical.
So far, engagements in the exhibition have included dance performance, artist talks, panel discussions and informal dialogues on issues raised by the paintings, said Pundyk in a conversation held at the gallery. In fact, the exhibition opened with a new dance piece by dancer choreographer Jessica Kilpatrick that was developed to be in conversation with the colorful abstract paintings. Kilpatrick created the dance after spending time with Pundyk's paintings at the artist's North Fork studio, said Pundyk. To close the exhibition as an activated installation, a day of dance-centric events will be held on Sunday, May 1, 2016, that starts with a dance class for all ages from 1 to 2:30 p.m. led by Kilpatrick, a faculty instructor at the Joffrey Ballet School, and continues with a free Dance Party held from 3 to 6 p.m.
As for the paintings, Pundyk moved away from incorporating figuration into abstraction for her "Revolution" series. Working on the North Fork in a new studio instead of her New York City one, she surrendered to the slower pace of the East End and immersed herself in the natural rhythms of the fields, bays, skies, sunrises and sunsets on the North Fork.
The paintings contain no reference to landscape, nature or objects and are fully emotive and intuitive, guided solely by the muse of each day as it unfolded. Choosing not to have any specific guideposts lent itself to an expressive body of work prompting a wide range of interpretations among viewers, encouraging debate and discussion, said Pundyk.
Another difference in "The Revolution" is the medium: the paintings are made on unfinished and sewn canvas instead of traditional stretched canvas.
Possessing a raw and unfinished sensibility is part of the ideology that the paintings contribute to a larger and collaborative creative act, instead of the painting as the singular object and final goal. Pundyk also changed up the mediums used for the "Revolution" series. Instead of oil paint, the works were made with water-based paints and mediums to encourage a visual fluidity in the mixed media works. The raw canvas harkens to drop cloths that helped inspire the change in Pundyk's painting practice for the series.
In a way, making the paintings in “The Revolution Will Be Painted” sowed the seeds of change for Pundyk. Changing up her process, medium and the intention of making the work was a way for her to take risks, trust intuition, explore freely and, finally, to experience what significant change can feel like on a personal level.
"...Working with artists such as Suzanne Lacy and Bianca Casady had taught me about speaking out and the role of dialogue as a means for implementing meaningful change,” wrote Pundyk in a piece for ART21 Magazine about her process. “My new painting incorporates these lessons."
If the synergistic creative activity taking place in conjunction with Pundyk's painting installation at Christopher Stout Gallery is any indication, the revolution may well be on its way.
View our slideshow to see more art from Anne Sherwood Pundyk's "The Revolution Will Be Painted":View Slideshow
BASIC FACTS: "The Revolution Will Be Painted" remains on view through May 1, 2016. Christopher Stout Gallery is located at 299 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, New York 11206. www.christopherstoutgallery.com. The exhibition's hashtag is #therevolutionwillbe painted.
On the exhibition's closing day on May 1, 2016, a Dance Class for all ages and levels will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Suggested donate is $10 for the instructor, Jessica Kilpatrick. A free Dance Party will take place from 3 to 6 p.m.
To see more of Anne Sherwood Pundyk's work, visit www.annepundyk.com.
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