Pall Bearers

Pall Bearers
Hydrocal over Steel with Pigment, Wax and Graphite
77" x 72" x 36"
Private Collection, New York

"As thunderous in its own way is Mary Ann Unger's ''Pall Bearers,'' in Hydrocal painted dark brown. The artist intends an allusion to the post-and-lintel, but the impression is more of Thanatos versus Eros with Thanatos in the lead. Posts shaped like forearms stand on the floor, their club hands supporting a slack, sausage-like form the surface of which shows signs of what appear to be bloody bandages. Never mind, Eros gets the upper hand in the artist's charcoal drawings of smooth organic shapes arranged in piles and clusters. One might not care to live with Ms. Unger's art, but it is pretty good." – Vivian Reynor, New York Times, 1989

"In Pall Bearers a large horizontal cylinder is held aloft by two stout forked pillars. Again, the funereal imagery is opposed by the gate like construction, with its connotations of passage, transformation and new life." – Robert Taplin, Art in America, 1992

"Sculptures such as Pall Bearers (1989) and Pieta/Monument to War (1990) emphasize the darker aspects of mortality; their architectonic formality parallels Unger's unfliching courage in the face of death. Using the form of a post and lintel scructure and graphite-covered surfaces, Unger creates an impression of stoic heroism - a balance between the knowledge of mortality and the interaction with disaster. Stoicism, however, has its price. Unger reveals the pain through her use of red pigments which appear in cracks and crevices in the sculpture's face. Like festering wounds, the sculptures are nearly too painful to view." – Judith Page, Sculpture Magazine, 1998

"Unger's massive sculptures Sheaves and Pall Bearers include references to bodies torn asunder, limp, lifeless, or engorged. The surfaces are darkly expressionistic, suggesting links with the disturbing canvases of Chaim Soutine, or bloddy sides of beef in Francis Bacon's paintings. Surfaces come alive with blood crimson encrustations, or the deep blues and blacks of anguish and mourning." – Dr. Joan M. Marter, Rituals of Demystification

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