An exhibition by Diana Puntar, Artist-in-Residence at Eltham College since September 2022.
Puntar will present sculptural works made of wood, carved synthetic substrates, epoxies, Jesmonite, various other materials and finally painted with oil paint. These painted and glazed “pickle” parts have a ceramic-like quality while the structures in which they are imbedded appear to be made of aged and/or decaying wood. Porcelain-like plate parts decorated with current and colonial era slogans, symbols, dates, and references jut out of the forms.
This body of work was inspired by Puntar’s research into American colonists turning their home goods into agitprop, a form of social resistance embodied in an object; after they were heavily taxed by the British monarchy to stop communication and trade. She is particularly interested in the ‘Pickle Tray’, an ornate tiered porcelain dish used to serve delicacies to guests, hiding anti-monarchist adages that were revealed as guests selected a treat. A discreet form of rebellion embodied in a gorgeous sculptural object.
Central to Historical Re-Anachronism is the image of “The Pickle” or gherkin which Puntar uses in a humorous way as a vehicle to explore the troubling history of colonisation and its continuum, which she feels are reflected in our many current existential crises. As Puntar puts it,
” Historical Re-Anachronism (H±R-A) was born of my ill-timed move to the UK from the US on the precipice of the global pandemic. After the initial shock of the pandemic morphed into the stasis of lockdown my considerable news-junky habit reached a new level, leading to my current project…. There’s nothing new about the American far-right rebranding 18th century anti-monarchist symbols to represent their agenda but seeing it all from here made it appear even more ironic. Historical Re-Anachronism is an attempt to make sense of the events that has led American democracy to be on the brink while looking at the absurdity of using pro Republic symbolism in support of an oligarch wannabe dictator as he attempted to overturn a democratically held election… “
Diana Puntar is a London based artist and educator originally from New York City. Her cross-disciplinary works includes sculpture, installation, drawing, and printmaking. Puntar’s ongoing project The Milky Way combines various utopian inventions and contemporary cultural explorations that seek to relieve humanity of suffering most notably an Orgone Accumulator, a disco floor, and a mushroom garden into a single installation.
Puntar holds an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and BA in Sculpture from The University of Maryland, College Park. She has held teaching positions at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Wilson College, and Pratt Institute. Notable grants include two from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and a NYFA fellowship.
Puntar has held solo and collaborative exhibitions at PARTICIPANT, INC, NY, PS1/MoMA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY and the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, OR. Her work has been written about in Art in America, NY Arts, Art Critical, Time Out New York, The Oregonian, The Portland Mercury, Modern Painters, Gay City News, Artnet.com, Art New England, Boston Sunday Herald, The Boston Globe, and more.