Howardena Pindell brought Pointillism back from the dead with buoyant, celebratory canvases. Starting in the 1970s, she scattered hole-punched, colored dots across her paintings. The results often look like fallen confetti, with an underlying grid peeking from beneath the paint. Pindell eschewed paint completely in some works, coating boards with multi-hued, multi-sized hole punches. Sometimes, she piled on the rectangles of paper from which dots had been punched—creating a sense of presence and absence; of positive and negative space. In the 1980s, Pindell worked on irregularly shaped, unstretched canvases that similarly incorporated the hole-punch motif. When exhibited, they lie flat against the wall, recalling nubby, textured quilts or blankets. Earlier this year, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago mounted Pindell’s first major survey. Her shimmering, unapologetically beautiful works are finally finding a place in art history.
– Alina Cohen