During the last year, New York artist Anne Sherwood Pundyk has created an expansive body of work called, “The Revolution Will Be Painted" in her studio on the east end of Long Island. Inspired by the cycle of the seasons, her large wall-sized canvas pieces activate the space around them employing combinations of unruly color. The artist’s smaller works on paper reveal the development of her formal vocabulary exploring contrasting organic and geometric forms. Working within the tradition of abstract painting, Pundyk channels the wild, natural forces of the rural landscape into works to be read with an open, changeable mindset.
“…The conditions of seeing will come into focus. / Painting will be in the present tense. / The stained or brushworked canvases will be lurid in subject or color. / A painting will be unexpectedly altered in the process of its viewing. / You will become aware of the paradoxes of symmetry. / 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. / The revolution will be painted…” — Anne Sherwood Pundyk, "The Revolution Will Be Painted", ART 21 Magazine, December 2014
Christopher Stout Gallery, New York - April 2016
Susan Eley Fine Art, New York - November 2015
The MAve Hotel, New York - December 2012
Queens College Art Center, New York - April 2013
Susan Eley Fine Art, New York - January 2010
Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA - Jan 2005
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA - Dec 2000
Asyl Gallery, New York - April 2000
Brown University, Providence, RI - November 1981
MoMA PS1, New York, "Wolf Moon Gathering," Jan 2014
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, "Ten Artists" Jun 1988
FAi: Where did you grow up?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: My family moved many times when I was young. I was born in Manhattan, but remember wading in our backyard stream in Iowa City, visiting abandoned silver mines in the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver, marching in protests on the Mall in Washington DC, and hiking in the foothills of Palo Alto all as part of my growing up. I always knew I would eventually return to Manhattan where I’ve lived for the last 30 years.
FAi: When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: I remember responding to color at a very young age and was happiest employing it in any picture- or craft-making project. My grandmother was a professional artist and illustrator, so being an artist was a given. I vacillated in college between majoring in Economics or Fine Art. A semester abroad in Paris tipped the scales for me; painting became my focus. I began then to learn that the commitment to being an artist goes beyond making objects. It includes accepting responsibility for knowing the significance of art historical traditions and the role of art in reaching beyond the art world. Art in all its forms—music, poetry, theatre, film, literature—is a partner to scientific and philosophical understanding and runs in tandem with contemporaneous social and political realities.
FAi: Who are your influences?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: The modernism of Edouard Manet’s brushwork and compositional devices has been the most instructive for me as a painter. I trace evidence of his ideas in artists such as Cecily Brown and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The work of Joan Mitchell and Josef Albers, while formally very different are guideposts for my use of color. The writing of Virginia Woolf has given me permission to value the subjective voice in my work. As an homage to these and other artists and writers I wrote “The Revolution Will Be Painted,” published in ART21 Magazine, December 2014 as an anthem for painting.
FAi: What was the extent of your art education? Who were your mentors?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: The people who have had the most significant impact on my life are those who have signaled, in one way or another, that my ideas matter. My grandmother recognized my attraction to the arts. Several teachers along the way were important: an early drawing teacher at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC; Charles Daugherty at Pomona College, Claremont, CA; and more recently, Timothy Quigley, who teaches Philosophy at The New School, New York, NY. My husband, Jeff, has provided an emotionally secure foundation for me to make work over the last three decades. Working with artists such as Suzanne Lacy and Bianca Casady over the last three years has confirmed for me the value of collaboration and dialogue as an integral part of art making. I received a BA in Fine Art from Pomona College, and an MFA in Painting from The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.
FAi: What is your greatest achievement?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: Locating the connection between aesthetic experience and verbal expression as the result of reading Kant’s Critique of Judgment—with Quigley—has cemented a radicalization in my life and work. This connection has paved the way for me to understand and strengthen the bridge between art and activism.
FAi: What is the greatest challenge you have faced?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: I have had significant challenges in different spheres. It was physically and emotionally difficult fighting my own breast and lung cancer 8 years ago and this year helping my sister, Julia, on her way to a full recovery from a life threatening injury. Counteracting the debilitating effects of patriarchal forces in institutions and society at large is a challenge I see more clearly as each year passes. Finally, bringing depth to my art-making by seeking ways to more fully understand the human heart and mind is a constant trial.
FAi: What are your plans for the future?
Anne Sherwood Pundyk: I am happiest when I can work in my new studio in Mattituck, with my family around me, busy with their own lives. I plan to be there as much as possible, to be healthy and fit, and pursue writing and interview projects that complement my studio work. The idea that choreographic stories are embedded in my paintings intrigues me; I am exploring this through writing and collaborations with dancers and musicians. Coming up this spring, I have two solo exhibitions—each will reveal different aspects of the same body of work called, “The Revolution Will be Painted.” My show at Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD runs from March 17 to April 17 and my show at Christopher Stout Gallery, New York runs from April 1 to May 1.