Given the brash, unbridled punk nature of this series of paintings featuring iconic characters of pop culture, it’s hard to imagine they are the handiwork of an artist well into her seventh decade. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Homer Simpson and Batman stare out at an audience, at times with an uncertain, teetering expressive vulnerability, at others with a near-demonic gravity. The canvasses in the first room positively seethe, the enamel paint applied with a viscous anger, upon close inspection a collection of rivulets allowed to trickle aggressively down the frame, a rage of blacks, whites and gold over which the central figure is placed. In one unsettling instance, the large ebon orbs of Mickey’s eyes seem quite ready to swallow the viewer whole. The colour scheme of others is informed by a Soviet mentality, a storm of annihilating bureaucratic grey. The pastel pencil studies in the second room, although softer in appearance, swell with a barbarous energy of their own, the figures trapped helplessly in the swirling lines in various stages of rupture and effacement, at the mercy of forces quite out of their control. The pieces create quite an impressive frission in viewers, between the collective cultural assumptions we have of these characters and the festering  agencies to which they are subjected. Pensato elicits alarm and sympathy for her subjects, darkness fighting to claim what has been conceived in light and optimism, a suggestion that even harmless pop touchstones may be appropriated with vile corruption for more sinister intentions by authority. FORGETTABOUT IT continues through 24 June





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