Joyce Pensato Magic Bag Eyes

Joyce Pensato Magic Bag Eyes 2014

For Joyce Pensato, painting is about memory, joy, and rediscovery—a message very clear in her striking, large-scale paintings and charcoal drawings of cartoon figures like Mickey Mouse, Batman, and the Simpsons. For her latest exhibition, entitled “Castaway,” at Petzel Gallery in New York, she accompanies these trademark figures with the flotsam and jetsam of her messy studio walls: a glamorously paint-smeared Marilyn Monroe, a picture of Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining covered in flicks of pigment. Her cartoons, created with enamel paint, drip and ooze, complete with scrapes, scratches, and bumps. Similarly, the pictures of her studio are beautifully gaudy and messy, like the best parts of life. “I celebrate my whole self and share it,” Pensato says. “I think you have to reach a certain age to be able to say, This is who I am!”