Anne Sherwood Pundyk: Beauty Out of Bounds at East End Arts

Featured Exhibition
A room with art on the wall

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Beauty Out of Bounds, East End Arts 11 West Gallery Installation. Painting on the left: Moonset. Painting on the right: The Center Will Hold. Photo courtesy of the artist

Anne Sherwood Pundyk’s solo exhibition, Beauty Out of Bounds, features a vibrant selection of her color-intensive works, many on public display for the first time. Her large, unstretched paintings reveal layers of stained drop cloth canvas interspersed with geometric shapes, cascades of color, bold stitching, sharp lines, and imprinted grids of paint. Her smaller pieces on stitched paper reflect the experimental approach of her larger works. A series of photographs that obscure handwritten journal entries bridge visual art and literature, underscoring the artist’s dual identity as a painter and writer. At the heart of the exhibition is Pundyk’s artist’s book, The Garden, which integrates printed pages and narratives prominently along the gallery walls. Her artworks collectively navigate themes of trauma and forgiveness. “By setting aside received wisdom, I make room for curiosity, investigation, and especially vulnerability”, Pundyk asserts. The exhibition spans both locations of East End Arts Galleries in the Arts District on Main St., Riverhead, NY, and includes various events designed to expand the dialogue.

A painting of circles and rings

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Red, Blue and Uccello, 2022, Acrylic, Latex, Colored Pencil on Cropped and Stitched Canvas
64.5 x 62 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Tell us about the body of work in your solo show at East End Arts in Riverhead.

Ten years ago, I embarked on making art in a new place, with new materials, while processing a recent traumatic event in my family. I moved my workspace from New York City to a custom-designed studio on the rural North Fork of Long Island. The body of work in my solo show, Beauty Out of Bounds, represents the fruits of exploring, experimenting, and honing a totally new technique for making paintings and related works as I reflected on the significant reordering taking place in my family. The show includes the resulting large, abstract paintings on unstretched canvas, stitched works on paper, photography, and an artist’s book presented as a wall-sized installation.

Your unstretched canvases include stained sections and downpours of color. What would you like to share about your process?

I have found that the versatility and responsiveness of unstretched canvas allow me to redeploy the painting’s traditional components in new ways. By collecting, cropping, composing, and finally sewing together large, stained sections of canvas, each work acquires a unique anatomy with a shared DNA. 

Subsequent irregular downpours of color buckle the patched surfaces. Activated by color, each painting tells its own improvised story. Crisp colored-pencil lines float amongst radiant circles and stripes. Together, they test the roiling flows. The finished work acquires an emphatic yet mutable presence as if it might begin to breathe.

A painting of a circle and circles

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Gorgeous Nothings, 2023, Acrylic, Latex, Colored Pencil and Stitching on Unstretched Canvas, 49 x 47 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

What was your approach to the overall installation of the paintings in the space, and how does it relate to the title?

I want my audience for the show to experience the feeling of making unhurried discoveries. This can be part of questioning received wisdom and finding beauty in surprising places. The overall installation of my work in Beauty Out of Bounds mirrors the culmination of the formal cycle of heuristic techniques I uncovered in different media over the last 10 years. The exhibition is presented in two gallery locations: the East End Arts Main Gallery is a renovated farmhouse with a suite of intimate spaces, and 11 West Gallery, a five-minute walk away, is in a large store-front gallery. I have used the first cluster of smaller galleries to show discrete chapters of the evolution of my work in painting, photography, and artist’s book making over the last decade.

The center room is the key to the exhibition. It is where I’ve created an installation from my artist’s book, “The Garden.” I have enlarged and re-configured the book’s pages into two long parallel rows pinned directly to the wall. Each bright, patterned image sits above the one-page fable it is paired with in the book, highlighting the experience of feeling something before we have the words to express it. My tales hint at secrets and truths as they trace familial ties, tragedy, art, nature, and, ultimately, a cathartic sense of sharing.  

The 11 West Gallery holds a spare selection of my most recent large-scale paintings. The show’s layout takes the audience through the investigations and experimentation I engaged with in my studio, which resulted in the sweeping, unstretched canvases that demonstrate freedom from constraint.

A room with art on the wall

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Beauty Out of Bounds, East End Arts Main Gallery Installation. Painting on the left: Blue Lining. Painting on the right: Aperol Spritz. Photo courtesy of the artist

What can you share about the art venue?

Over 50 years old, the East End Arts & Humanities Council is located in the historic downtown Arts District of Riverhead, NY. Riverhead is a town situated 75 miles east of New York City, where the peninsula of Long Island forks north and south. East End Arts has become the primary cultural hub on the North Fork. East End Arts is committed to building and enriching the community through the arts by way of creating a vibrant arts community on the East End that enhances individual and professional artistic development, stimulates community enrichment, economic development, and cultural tourism while encouraging a wide range of artistic expression through education, exhibition, and performance, and collaboration across the community.

Anne Sherwood Pundyk: Beauty Out of Bounds. EEA Main Gallery, 133 E. Main St., Riverhead, NY, and 11 West Gallery, 11 W. Main St., Peconic Crossing, Riverhead, NY

About the Artist: An artist and writer, Anne Sherwood Pundyk brings together the traditions of abstract art, textiles and storytelling. Based in New York, Anne has engaged in her art making, exhibiting and art writing over the last 35 years. Curator Helen A. Harrison observed, “…[Anne’s] work suggests that understanding requires another interpretive tool, or perhaps a personal surrender to a deeper, less accessible, level of cognition.” She relocated her studio from New York City to Mattituck a decade ago. The move has been the catalyst for a fundamental re-centering of her art around adapting everyday forms with an eye toward questioning convention. []