440 Gallery is pleased to present “Real People I’ve Never Met,” a solo exhibition of figurative oil paintings by Janet Pedersen. This is Pedersen’s first solo show at the gallery and is a body of work produced during the past year.
Pedersen’s studio-based paintings are based on iPhone images that she snaps on New York City streets while keenly observing people on the go. “I have always been interested in figures in movement within the city in motion. As a landscape and figurative painter, there’s no better backdrop. These paintings are about private and intimate moments: the walker deep in thought, a woman touching up her makeup on a moving train, two co-workers on a cigarette break. Here are the urban scenes that we come across every day, and it is all on full display.”
The creative challenge for Pedersen was how to move beyond traditional representation in order to build dynamic compositions. Using abstracted features and conscientiously redesigning boundaries through color and shape, light and shadow, Pedersen all the while holds on to the simple human gestures that made her stop to stare in the first place. She cites influences as the Bay Area Figurative Movement artists Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and Joan Brown for their approach to painting the figure and ordinary scenes of life.
A graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Pedersen currently lives in Brooklyn NY. Before turning to fine art painting, she enjoyed a successful career as an illustrator of 17 children’s books including four that she authored. Clients included noted publishers Candlewick Press, Clarion, Random House and Penguin Books. Pedersen is an online instructor of figure drawing through the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and when she is not painting in the studio, she is on her bike with easel and paints in tow, on that never-ending pursuit to chase the light in her Brooklyn neighborhood.