MARC STRAUS opens an exhibition of works by Rona Pondick

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MARC STRAUS opens an exhibition of works by Rona Pondick
Small Yellow Ochre Green, 2020-21. Pigmented resin and acrylic, 5.25 x 7.81 x 9.25 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- MARC STRAUS is presenting Rona Pondick’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Nearly a decade ago, building on the formal vocabulary of her earlier work, Pondick began experimenting with acrylic, resin, and rich color. Using the language of the body in her sculptures, in both a literal and a metaphorical sense, she is interested in the idea of transformation and the elasticity of meaning while being spellbound by the materiality of sculpture. Seeking out cutting-edge technologies and at the same time keeping sculpting as a hands-on process, she explores ideas based on natural phenomena such as metamorphosis and mutation.

This latest body of work that Pondick created in the past two years is about intimacy, introspection, and truthfulness. Concurrent with the transformative times we live in, and after decades of working in large scale often for the outdoors, Pondick eventually surrendered to a long-nurtured desire to create smaller, more personal sculptures. Carrying-on with her signature sculptural component, she incorporates the cast of her head (more precisely a downsized version of it) into small scale polychromatic sculptures. Pondick’s work has always been abashedly personal and self-referential. And yet, they are so powerfully emotional because they speak to our common hopes, desires, tribulations, and even pain.

In these new works the heads and bodies have fully emerged. There are two or more figures, and these feel more like a celebration, bursting with color and life. We find ourselves in a moment of a narrative. The figures may have endured hardship, but the triumph is their perseverance, endurance, and the knowledge that life has its beautiful riches. To be alive is to be able to create.

The surfaces vary from matte and chalky textures to impeccably polished and lustrous coatings alluring to our senses. The titles are based on the colors each object contains. The colors are vibrant and, as a result of Pondick’s unique coloringe techniques, they reveal unexpected color combinations. We see translucent objects that are changing as the light changes, and as we move around them.

Alongside the sculptures, Pondick shows a new body of drawings. This lesser-known aspect of her work, that started and grew parallel with her colored resin works in the last ten years, is as rewarding as her sculptures yet different in character. They hit a quieter, more introspective tone. The drawings feature shadow like, stylized heads with an exaggerated long nose, evoking Giacometti’s Le Nez from 1947, that float and fade in the picture frame like memories tend to do. They are drawn on multiple layers of almost transparently thin, handmade mulberry paper. Pondick draws on both sides of the paper and often merges multiple layers of the fine, nearly translucent sheets. The presence of these drawings is so delicate they almost feel evanescent.

Rona Pondick (b. 1952, Brooklyn, New York) has had 48 solo exhibitions of her work in museums and galleries internationally, and her sculptures have been included in 220 group exhibitions, including numerous biennales worldwide such as the Whitney Biennial, Lyon Biennale, Johannesburg Biennale, Sonsbeek, and Venice Biennale. Her work is in the collections of many institutions worldwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); The Morgan Library & Museum (New York); Brooklyn Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh); Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles); Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven); Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas); Israel Museum (Jerusalem); and Centre Pompidou (Paris).

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