A mist of futility burns off from my bright urge to make something new for you, but also for me. I offer up a painting. The painting, “Each Other,” (2019) is mostly blue. The core dichotomy between fruitlessness and invention plays out in its construction. Across the painting’s buckling, seamed, unstretched surface of variously sized, hemmed canvas panels, the overall blue gradually differentiates as many moody, shifting densities and shades: true, violet, cerulean, sky, cobalt, indigo.  
Painted light reveals the drama. A fringe of indigo rivulets graduating from almost black to robin’s egg blue trickles eastward reaching toward the remains of a small cove of warm raw canvas. Their palest azure tips nearly touch the vertical fabric fold reinforced with double rows of cautionary red machine stitching. In the adjacent window a narrow twist of translucent white paint stretches up opposite the canvas cove, visible between two dark blue walls stiff with saturated paint.
Light emanating from the ghostly spasm is caught on either side by fine white and orange vertical contrails of dashed thread. It moves up and across a dark horizontal panel at the top of the painting. The light illuminates the uppermost portion of this canvas rectangle and rests behind a neighboring square of dusk. Lingering in this after glow, however, is a reminder of the painting’s stitched together, self-determined means of support; loose, uneven, white, red and black threads hang down off its opposite lower edge.
Behind the curved tendon of light, a thin, white pencil arc bisects a clear cobalt night sky. Ominously a veiled Argos watches the whiplash effects of wet light from across the nearby darkest canvas void, positioned to reflect the angle of the pencil arc. Collections of untrimmed strands of threads extend from corners and intersections. These groups of loops pantomime a total collapse of the painting’s engineering. Yet, as an alternate ending, here and there, short, faint, hand-drawn colored pencil lines act as structural reinforcement. They cry, “Look, no hands.” 


                                                                                           — Anne Sherwood Pundyk
                                                                                                                   Summer 2019

2017 - 2018

I once dreamt I was making a cake from a recipe calling for a portion of my own brain as one of the ingredients. My subconscious culinary project now feels prophetic. Nearly three years ago my sister had a stroke and I began to read about developments in the science of the mind. I wanted to use this information to help with her healing. One unexpected result: my dream is coming true. Neurological concepts tied to healing, self-assertion, and identity are giving form to my current body of work, “Brain Cake.”
Color narrates the emotion in all my work. I want to express an internal honesty, an aspect of both healing and self-knowledge. This undertaking involves building a tolerance for anxiety and navigating chaos and disorientation, alongside studying how different colors, forms and textures interact. In prior work, I honed a pared-down abstract formal language and simplified my choice of materials.
In my current work, banded histories of color phenomena reveal a telling use of deep indigo. I compound tall, sliced territories of stained dark blue unstretched canvas. Traversing pools of color I contrast bleed lines with the saving grace of pure geometry. Parallel stormy states of mind are stitched together as edited quick film cuts. Close up cropped shots of bruised surfaces and watery reflections share space with celestial panoramas. Salvation contemplated again if only from a certain distance of time and space. Did I first dream about these shapes, too?
                                                                      — Anne Sherwood Pundyk
                                                                                                     Fall 2018


2014 - 2016

                                                     By Anne Sherwood Pundyk

You will not be able to not know.
You may not just be present.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on, and cop out.
Because the revolution will be painted.[1]

The revolution will be painted.
The painted marks will tell of surfaces
simultaneously combining touch and sight.[2]
In each painting a layer of chaos will show
not everything is fully worked out.[3]
You will see the potential in the speed of the moving line,
the encapsulation and entanglement of shallow space
and the sheer beauty of the painting’s literalness.[4]
The revolution will be painted.
Painting will no longer create space as a theatre;
it will give space itself a theatre.[5]
The paint will meet the surface sensuously,
In a broad, flat engagement of the palm, by fingertip daubs,
and through varieties of clawing and caressing.[6]
Painting will always tremble, but very precisely.[7]
There will be no difference in the world between
planning airily away from the canvas
and actually taking your brush and making the first mark.[8]
The revolution will be painted.

You will become aware of small transformations.[9]
Precision and incoherence will be improvised with dazzling speed
into chattering, chanting, and excoriating fields.[10]
Painting will put us in touch with what is ungovernable in the body.[11]
Each line will be the actual experience of its own innate history.[12]
The brushstrokes will lack consistency and be loosely disposed
over the surface of the canvas.[13]
Every element will have a rising, hovering, or sagging weight,
achieved by finesse with relative densities
and by a supreme sense of color.[14]
The paint will be overtaken by an extraordinary density
securing a complete interlocking of image and paint.[15]
The revolution will be painted.

The brushwork will no longer function as a mere record of perception,
but as a shorthand equivalent for perceptions of the tangible world.[16]
Painting will be more tangible in its articulation of nature.[17]
The string of images layered within each painting will
begin to communicate the inaudible truth of the inner self.[18]
The naked or otherwise vulnerable bodies of women
will read as retribution for centuries of less attuned representations by men
and also for the supposed neutrality of abstraction.[19]
The revolution will be painted.

Situated near the edge of visibility,
painting will exude a stillness and lapse into immobility.[20]
The conditions of seeing will come into focus.[21]
Painting will be in the present tense.[22]
The stained or brush-worked canvases will be
lurid in subject or color.[23]
A painting will be unexpectedly altered in the process of its viewing.[24]
You will become aware of the paradoxes of symmetry.[25]
A painting will never know where else it might go,
and will be incapable of closing down the possibility of an exit from
wherever it happens to be right now.[26]
The revolution will be painted.
The slippery bliss of the paint will be revealed in slipping glimpses.[27]
In a new form, paintings will house the sequence of recognized moments,
ready for reception and interpretation.[28]
The feeling in painting will no longer be a taste for horror,
it will be pity, a pity for flesh.[29]
The body will be the source and destination of sensation perceived and painted.[30]
A field of seemingly incongruous gestures will come
together to form one distinct image.[31]
The outpouring of fervid color will be seen as a resurgence
of an expansive levitation that will deny the heaviness of physical concern.[32]
The revolution will be painted.

Each layer will remain a sketch, often visible through the one that covers it.[33]
Painting will create a whole from parts
in an unsettled and unsettling relationship.[34]
The resonance between body and landscape will reverberate
thorough choices of browns, pinks, reds, and whites.[35]
Painting will be irresponsible to gravity.[36]
A gestured brush drawing on top of painted forms
will define and relocate specific contours.[37]
The painting will be waiting to be recognized.[38]
The painting will bear the marks of its making.[39]
The revolution will be painted.

1. Variation on lyrics from Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Flying Dutchman, 1971, B-Side 7” single vinyl record.
2. Anne Coffin Hanson, “Manet’s Pictorial Language,” in Manet: 1832–1883, ed. John P. O’Neill (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983), 21.
3. Anne Sherwood Pundyk, Barry Schwabsky, and Kara L. Rooney, stadia: Anne Sherwood Pundyk (New York: Blurb, 2014), 50.
4. Frank Stella, Working Space (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986), 60.
5. Clement Greenberg, “Cezanne,” in Art and Culture (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 54.
6. Kirk Varnedoe, Cy Twombly: A Retrospective (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1994), 35.
7. John Elderfield, “Space to Paint,” in De Kooning: A Retrospective (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2011), 14.
8. Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (London: Harcourt, 1927), 161.
9. Robert Evrén, “Dispatch from the Tropic of Flesh,” in Cecily Brown (New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2000), 10.
10. Roberta Smith, “Collisions on Canvas That Still Make Noise: Jean-Michel Basquiat,” The New York Times, March 11, 2005.
11. John Kelsey, “To Be the Knife: Notes on Rita Ackermann,” in Rita Ackermann (New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2010), 71.
12. Cy Twombly, “Documenti di una nuova figurazione: Toti Scialoja, Gastone Novelli, Pierre Alechinsky, Achille Perilli, Cy Twombly,” L’Esperienza moderna, no. 2 (August–September 1957): p.32, quoted in Varnedoe,Cy Twombly, 27.
13. Hanson, “Manet’s Pictorial Language,” 25.
14. Peter Schjeldahl, “Tough Love: Resurrecting Joan Mitchell,” New Yorker, July 15, 2002.
15. Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 17.
16. Hanson, “Manet’s Pictorial Language,” 25.
17. Greenberg, “Cezanne,” 51.
18. Pundyk and others, stadia, 44.
19. Roberta Smith, “The Body Politic: Gorgeous and Grotesque: ‘Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave,’” New York Times, December 11, 2008.
20. Evrén, “Tropic of Flesh,” 10.
21. Ibid.
22. Anne Sherwood Pundyk, “Bushwick Art Crit Group” (lecture, Fireproof Art Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, October 14, 2014).
23. Smith, “Body Politic.”
24. Elderfield, “Space to Paint,” 16.
25. Evrén, “Tropic of Flesh,” 10.
26. Bonnie Clearwater, “Rita Ackermann,” in Rita Ackermann, (New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2010), 21.
27. Elderfield, “Space to Paint,” 37.
28. Pundyk and others, stadia, 44.
29. Deleuze, Francis Bacon, xxix.
30. Pundyk and others, stadia, 46.
31. Michael Auping, “A Long View,” in Howard Hodgkin: Paintings (Fort Worth, TX: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1995), 20.
32. Varnedoe, Cy Twombly, 35.
33. Hanson, “Manet’s Pictorial Language,” 27.
34. Elderfield, “Space to Paint,” 16.
35. Varnedoe, Cy Twombly, 35.
36. Ibid.
37. Hanson, “Manet’s Pictorial Language,” 26.
38. Auping, “A Long View,” 18.
39. Hanson, “Manet’s Pictorial Language,” 28.

Note: Originally published in ART21 Magazine, December, 2014.

 2008 - 2013


I. Self-Instruction

Through my work, I offer lessons for dealing with the stress of performing break-out roles for women in these unstable times: take risks, get up if you fall, and trust your instincts. While what you first see are objects made using a vocabulary of materials associated with a traditional painting process (oil and acrylic paint, charcoal, linen, and stretchers) before I manipulate these elements my work originates within a non-material, interior realm. I am drawn unconsciously to a string of images each representing a moment of recognition. The images are chosen from a larger pool of pictures collected from diverse sources including those streamed from the Internet, printed in the mass media and personal photographs I take myself. The selection of one visual creates the context for the next decision. I believe the essence of who we are can be distilled from these moments.

II. Language Principle

My paintings are made of over-laid, figuratively intended responses to these selected images. Female figures are placed and take form on the canvas directed by their source of power: the vagina. Other contextual images refer to landscape, space, and inanimate objects of significance. Concurrent with the making of any given painting, I inventory the sequence of images I select and interim documentary photographs of the painting as it develops. The iterative nature of this approach -- a step-by-step recording of my reflections -- is also a formative principle in language outside the visual sphere. The integration of elements of language -- letters, words, sentences, grammar, and narrative -- parallels the development of the visual account of my paintings. Embedded in the string of images layered within each painting are my own essential stories. They overlap with older stories such as myths, fables, and fairy tales. In so doing, they begin to communicate to others the inaudible truth of the inner self.

III. Performance as Identity Formation

In a new form, my paintings house the sequence of recognized moments, ready for reception and interpretation by my audience. Each painting’s creation replicates the process of identity formation we undergo through our life’s performance. I situate the paintings in stand-alone presentations, or in combination with elements referring to the stage of operations in which action takes place. These exterior, framing elements are created by painting blocks of color painted directly on the wall, grouping the stretched paintings into stand-alone triangular prisms, or most recently, using expanses of painted, unstretched canvas on the walls and floor. These elements reinforce the changeability of our individual perspective. At the core of my work is the importance I place on the power of the subjective voice, which -- through its upkeep -- I am committed to defend.

                                                                                             — Anne Sherwood Pundyk