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 Painting, Drawing, Photos by Anne Sherwood Pundyk

At Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics Gallery 

ART EXHIBIT PREMIERS WORKS DRAWN FROM MYTH OF PERSEPHONE

 

 

 An exhibit of new works by New York artist Anne Sherwood Pundyk explores the themes of mother-daughter love, loss and renewal in a contemporary retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone.  

 

Entitled “Persephone," the exhibition includes large-format paintings, studies, photographs and watercolors. The show opens January 14 at the Williams School Art Gallery on the campus of Washington & Lee University, with a reception for the artist from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and a lecture by Ms. Pundyk at 5:30. 

 

On the surface, the Persephone myth explains the origins of the four seasons -- the onset of winter and the return of spring,” the artist says.  “But deeper down, it reflects the withering effect on the mother of her daughter’s inevitable loss of innocence, and the restorative power of the eternal mother-daughter bond."

 

The images feature members of the artist’s own family in the roles of Persephone; her mother Demeter, goddess of the harvest; Hades, Lord of the Underworld;  Zeus, King of the Gods; and Hermes, the messenger.  These characters are integrated with still-life objects decorated, as with ancient Greek vases, with scenes from the story.  Using heirloom objects from her family’s ancestral home in southern Ohio, Ms. Pundyk varies the lighting, styling, and perspective to mirror the flow of Persephone’s plight.

 

Pundyk’s ambitious retelling appears in six parts, with several paintings, photographs and drawings grouped together to form each scene. This exhibit is the first public showing of the work, part of a larger group of paintings still in progress that explores the Persephone myth.  This exhibit is accompanied by a lecture by the artist putting her work into contemporary and historical perspective.

 

“I responded right away to the formal innovation in Anne’s newest work. It brings a contemporary view of Classic aesthetics which is in keeping with the University’s rigorous academic vision,” said Fran Peppers, Curator of the Williams College Art Gallery on the Washington & Lee campus.

 

This series of work is a departure for Ms. Pundyk in that there is a strong narrative thread among and between the individual pieces, although the rendering of the Persephone myth is less a literal retelling of the story than a jazz-like interpretation that “riffs” on the interplay of objects and figures within each frame, and among all the elements of the series. 

 

As can be seen in original ancient Greek vases the work combines decorative illustration with abstraction and realism. Also new is Ms. Pundyk’s inclusion of works in various media.  Where earlier shows centered almost entirely on paintings in acrylic on paper, the Williams Gallery show includes photography, watercolor and drawing not just as studies for the larger works, but as finished artworks unto themselves.

 

While the works featured in the exhibition are all finished pieces and available for purchase, the series itself is a work in progress, with addition “scenes” from the Persephone myth expected to be completed in the coming months.  By showing the first elements of the series early in the process, the Ms. Pundyk can use the emotional responses the works elicit from the audience to inform her approach to the later works.  This informal dialogue between artist and audience is rare in the visual art world.          

 

The show runs January 14 through June 2005; gallery hours are 8:00 am to 12:00 am, Monday – Sunday. Admission is free. "Persephone " is dedicated to the late Dirck Brown, father of the artist and a respected figure in the local community.  The Williams School Art Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics on the Campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.  The university makes public exhibition space available to artists with a strong local connection.     

Anne Sherwood Pundyk lives and works in New York City.  Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows throughout the United States, and is in more than 40 private collections internationally and in corporate and public collections including Barclay’s Bank, New York, NY; Glamorise Foundations, New York, NY; State St. Bank, Boston, MA; St. Barnabas Medical Center Foundation, West Orange, NJ; and The University of Virginia’s Digestive Health Center, Charlottesville, VA.   

Among the many prominent collectors of the work of Anne Sherwood Pundyk are artist Cy Twombly and television personality Katie Couric. Learn more about Anne Sherwood Pundyk and her work at www.annepundyk.com.  

Anne Sherwood Pundyk is the granddaughter of artist and illustrator Mary Sherwood Wright Jones, whose illustrations appeared regularly in My Weekly Reader and in numerous periodicals during much of the last century.

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Note to editors: hi-resolution images and artist interviews are available on request.

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