"Yes, it looks like Mickey Mouse or Felix the Cat, but I want to make it my own ... take it apart and put it back together with my own voice." — Joyce Pensato
Imbuing familiar figures of American cartoon culture with psychological charge and emboldening them with aggressive, gestural physicality, Joyce Pensato reveals a darker side of American Pop. Pensato is less interested in the cartoons and comics these figures emerge from than the way these characters are drawn, and her depictions expand and exaggerate the most basic marks of figural form: here, the eyes of Felix the Cat loom large, disembodied and delineated in thick, brushy strokes. The artist uses 1Shot enamel paint exclusively, preferring the medium—traditionally used in sign-painting—for its intense pigmentation and viscosity: equal parts fluid gloss, sticky substance, and splash. Adding and obscuring in rotation, she builds a surface of thickly textured impasto from alternating layers of black and white, creating a body of work that engages both with the figurative tradition of Pop illustration and the action and materiality of Abstract Expressionist gesture.