Artist, Joanna Pinsky, is influenced by architecture, history, and places when creating her two-dimensional sculptures from Gatorfoam graphic display board. In her latest work on display, all summer at Oakton’s Koehnline Museum of Art in Des Plaines, Illinois, Pinsky expresses inspiration from over a dozen trips to Cuba in the last 15 years.
Cuba is rife with inspiration for an artist. It is well known that traveling to Cuba is like taking a trip back in time with old classic cars, weathered buildings, and a rich history. An architectural boom occurred in the early 20th century in Cuba, but what stands today shows wear and disrepair. The architectural structures reveal influences from art nouveau, art deco, and eclectic design from around the world. In Pinsky’s many trips since the early 2000s, Pinsky has been able to witness a major shift underway for the Cubans and her art is an expression of that shift.
Pinsky drew from the incredible visual stimuli from her visits to Cuba to create the series titled, “Cuba ~ See.” In her work she focused on expressing the quiet elegance that is visible through the mix of Spanish, French and Russian influenced structures that are crumbling in their current state. The beauty is evident in the Cuban culture with music playing in the streets set against vivid sunset colors. Cuba is on the cusp of something big, so Pinsky decided to capture the energy for change from the end of the American embargo that can be felt all around.
In “Cuba ~ See,” the two-dimensional, geometric and colorful pieces are in line with Pinsky’s work over the last forty years. She has always been inspired by landscape and architecture; it is no wonder Cuba would be a frequent stop for inspiration for the artist. Widespread in Cuba is an adherence to the Cuban national hero, Jose Marti. The figure is seen honored on public buildings, schools and even private homes. One piece in the installation titled, “Proud Marti,” she used 48 x 40 inch Gatorfoam graphic display board to create the vibrant portrait and ode to the prominent figure that freed Cuba from Spain in 1985.
Gatorfoam graphic display board is a durable, rigid substrate that is well-known for its light weight. Many of Pinsky’s other two-dimensional installations are created with Gatorfoam board as well. She uses bright acrylic paint directly applied to the surface and in some cases the pieces are meant to be assembled, making the lightweight board functional as well as dimensional.
Joanna Pinsky has exhibited all over the country, amongst group exhibits, featured in artist collectives and various museum collections. Her most recent Cuban inspired, two-dimensional artwork will be on display all summer.
information and photography courtesy of Chicago Tribune