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Jonna Pedersen, Denmark
  • 49, Female
  • Copenhagen
  • Denmark
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Profile Information

Relationship status
in a relationship
College / University
Danish Art School: Bjørn Ignatius Øckenholts Frederikbergske Billedkunstskole
Program / Degree
Painting, collages, drawing
Member type
If you're an artist, what kind of art do you make?
Drawing, Painting
I am...
a Danish artist who has been working with urban landscapes since I went to New York in 2006...at the moment I am fooling around with still life paintings...
About my artwork
The first picture Jonna Pedersen ever painted was a copy of a work by the Danish Cobra artist Asger Jorn that she fell in love with in the Silkeborg Museum. For a while, earlier in her career, she worked in a similarly frenzied gestural manner, before becoming enamored of the bland facades of shops on streets devoid of people, yet somehow seemingly haunted by their absence.

The urban environment that Pedersen evokes suggests the aftermath of one of those 'smart bombs' that can supposedly wipe out an entire population without destroying property­­a Godsend, some might say, given the relative value of real estate over human life in today's world. Sans signs of life, everything appears pristinely undisturbed in Pedersen's paintings. But while Denmark is technically a welfare state, remnants of rampant consumerism are everywhere evident in the variety of signs plastering the storefronts.

Not knowing Danish makes them all the more intriguing, even though Pedersen supplies English titles. In 'Tanning Salon,' under the shopfront that says 'Consol Solcenter,' a poster in the window shows a tiny figure in a swimsuit exulting with upraised arms on a beach. Since the human presence is so rare in Pedersen's paintings, this minuscule detail seems almost spooky, a remnant of vanished natural joy embalmed in an urban mausoleum as alien as one of Yves Tanguy's surrealist boneyards.

The desolate effect is enhanced by Pedersen's meticulously detailed style, in which acrylics are employed like tempera paints to produce flat, dry-looking color areas that can appear simultaneously bright and muted. She paints every brick in an obsessive manner reminiscent of Ben Shahn's early social realist cityscapes; yet her jazzy use of commercial signage and abruptly cropped word fragments as abstract shapes recalls Stuart Davis.

Indeed, Pedersen's paintings function dynamically as geometric hard-edge abstractions, as seen in 'Nord Flex,' a picture of a window and door store in which the rectangles of the windows depicted on the signs rhyme visually with the actual windows in the building facade above the shopfront. The compositional tension is further heightened by the white traffic lines in the gray gutter, which contradict the two dimensional picture plane with implied perspective.

Yet to put too much emphasis on the formal attributes in the paintings of Jonna Pedersen would be to short-change their universal symbolic resonance. Not many artists, after all, can present one with a bland stucco structure called 'Gastronomia Italiana,' in what appears to be Danish strip-mall, and make something about its deadpan eeriness evoke the night the notorious renegade Mafioso Crazy Joey Gallo went into a place called Umberto's Clam House, in New York's Little Italy, and ended up face-down in his calamari.

Ed McCormack
New York City
Artists I like
Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Stuart Davis, Maria Wandel, Bjørn Eriksen, Lars Svanholm, Edward Hopper...
urban landscapes, people, relationships, design,
Centre of the artworld:
New York, nowhere and everywhere

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Comment Wall (40 comments)

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At 8:46 on October 21, 2012, Luke Gilliam said…

No worries Jonna. New work going up quite shortly. My best, Luke.

At 13:30 on August 13, 2012, Luke Gilliam said…

Hi Jonna, have not forgotten about you. As it turns out a family member in Copenhagen has jst had a very bad accident. Everything is up in the air right now and I may have to go to Copenhagen for a few days. I will not be able to make your show but will send a card to the gallery wihing both you and them much success. Your work is very strong. We'll talk again soon. Best, L

At 18:01 on July 20, 2012, Luke Gilliam said…

Thank you for all your interest in my work. There was a time on artreview in 2008 when I was meeting people here every day and producing about 2 paintings a week which lasted for over 2 years. It was a very excitingtime and I met someone on artreview with whome I did a group show here in the UK. I have over 1000 drawings that have not yet been seen or photographed and plan on shooting 250 of them very soon and putting them online in a seperate account. So I will make sure to let you know when they are up. I have also produced and released 2 jazz albums with one of the top trios in France and written a 12 minute score for an octet (all strings). So hopefully soon the whole collection will be available on artreview. I will try to make it up to London and will know soon, best, Luke

At 11:01 on July 20, 2012, Luke Gilliam said…

Hi there! Nice to meet you up here - yes I will try to make it up to London for your show. I have not seen your work before so will look at your gallery now. My best, L

At 4:48 on May 12, 2011, Rebecca said…
This is great work! They have a collage look, which makes them even more engaging.
At 4:24 on May 12, 2011, Clementine McGaw said…
Unfortunately I have just brought down an exhibition which was in Doyle Devere in Notting Hill, but you are more than welcome to come to my studio.
At 7:33 on October 25, 2010, nicola di caprio said…
My pleasure Jonna! I found your paintings quirky and happy.
At 13:09 on September 28, 2010, Daniel Mc Keon said…
Jonna thank for the nice comment on my work, I was in Copenhagen on a holiday this summer and in transit to Stockholm getting the train over the Oresund. I would have loved to be showing my work there but was only visiting.
I will have some work in this new gallery opening in Dublin this Thursday http://www.clynegallery.com Best wishes...........Dan.
At 6:44 on September 25, 2010, N.S.VALLUVAN said…
At 10:15 on September 24, 2010, Daniel Mc Keon said…
Hi Jonna, I like your paintings very interesting work. I was in Copenhagen recently for the first time and its a great city very cool vibe sadly the Mermaid had gone on holidays to China when we went to see her. Best wishes.


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