New York

Peter Passuntino

Sonraed Gallery

The relationship of still a third artist to history is perhaps even more arresting. It must be assumed that it is fully clear to Peter Passuntino that he employs compositional devices lifted from Arcimboldo, Surrealist anthropomorphism, Picasso, Ensor, and tinker-like aspects of American folk vernacular, so much so that to point out these obvious sources is to miss the point of his work entirely. Passuntino doesn’t remotely deny his swipes, nor does he wittily parody them. They are just there, junk, useful to polemical ends.

What is more interesting is that Passuntino’s thickly applied, stubbly works, painted in a bristly hand which can easily be dismissed as inept—inept in terms of the unctuous felicities we understand to be the hallmark of French painting—is now its own achievement by default. I think the success of Passuntino’s dark and hidden exhibition stems both from abused outrage

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