Joyce Pensato's new work at Friedrich Petzel provides an intimate glimpse into the artists exhilarating if not slightly deranged studio. Pensato's large expressive paintings depict the darker side of American cartoon icons. Using wide gestural marks to abstract Batman's iconic mask, Pensato streaks her canvases with dripped black and white paint. But these drips don't end at the edge of the canvas. Soiled stuffed animals and kitsch along with the artists studio wreckage casually litter the gallery floor; seamless extensions of the paintings themselves, they are splattered with black and white paint. Pensato mixes her subject matter with her studio practice, literally, in this combination of paintings, assemblages, and photographs of her studio (which resemble still lifes of an old and abandoned Disney giftshop.) Navigate the space by stepping over strewn Mickey Mouse dolls, gunky buckets of paint, and Homer Simpson figurines. One can't discern between intentionally executed art objects and objects lifted from the artist's studio that had fallen victim to Pensato's tornado of a process.
Pensato transforms icons of our Americana youth from vestiges of our childhood innocence into demonic portrayals of the forgotten and left-behind. In reconstructing elements of her studio inside the gallery, she also transforms our expectation of the pristine white-walled gallery space. Whether or not Pensato's paintings might risk redundancy from one piece to the next, Batman Returns provides the unique opportunity to get inside the world of the artist and her practice.