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Joyce Pensato

Max Protetch

Joyce Pensato’s work serves as a reminder that not all painting with cartoon imagery derives from Pop art. Although Donald, Mickey, and the rest of the Disney crew—along with the occasional interloper from more contemporary cartoons, such as Bart Simpson—form the basis of Pensato’s imagery, her paintings and wall drawings are much more closely related to Abstract Expressionism than to the work of Roy Lichtenstein or Andy Warhol. The black and white enamel Pensato uses was very much Jackson Pollock’s medium of choice in 1951–52, and one cannot help but recall the black and white oil of Franz Kline’s paintings throughout that decade or of Willem de Kooning’s between 1949 and 1950.

None of Pensato’s precursors were high-culture purists; Kline trained as an illustrator, and de Kooning’s Woman always had something of Marilyn Monroe about her. From such roots, blossomed the “handpainted Pop” of

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