Updated: Oct 6, 2018
The title of Sara Hunsucker’s exhibition, Dogmatic Fanfares Always Succeed is derived from a banner raised above the bizarre carnivalesque scene in James Ensor’s 1888 painting, Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889, which reads FANFARES DOCTRINAIRES / TOUJOURS RÉUSSI. Ensor’s crude and heavy-handed painting provides a scathing social commentary. At the cusp of modernism, the satirical painting mocked everything from romantic nationalistic paintings to religion, imperialism, and new conventions in art. His attacks were symbolic and took the form of the grotesque; a sea of disembodied caricatures, masks, and architypes.
Hunsucker draws parallels between Ensor’s painting and our current social-political moment. Using dark humor and symbolism to raise questions of power, she explores the political and social chaos of what she describes as, “the American descent into burlesque,” while constructing open narratives that utilize a disembodied cast of characters. Her sculpture employs a range of media including polyurethane foam, carboard, paper mache, ceramic and plaster. She makes dramatic stylistic and metaphoric shifts from simplified “happy faces” to fully rendered naturalistic busts to accentuate the carnivalesque environment her installation creates.
Ensor’s painting is part of the Getty collection and is currently on view at the Getty Center.
Sara Hunsucker is a multi-disciplined visual artist and educator. She is an adjunct sculpture instructor at Pasadena City College. Her artwork had been exhibited both locally and nationally at Los Angles Contemporary Exhibitions (L.A.C.E), Fellows of Contemporary Art in Chinatown, LA, University Art Gallery in La Jolla and the Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, Fl. Hunsucker has had an extensive career in museum education and has worked for the American Museum of Ceramic Art, the Los Angeles County Museum Art and Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Hunsucker holds a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design where she studied painting and drawing, and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego.