Highlights of the Collection: Kirk Pederson, Central Avenue

Photographer Kirk Pederson uses realism to as a tool to bring his works into the realm of abstraction.
Kirk Pederson, Central Avenue, 1987, Acrylic on canvas, 60 in. x 98 in. x 4 in., Gift of Victoria and Dorn Dean, Scripps College

Kirk Pederson, Central Avenue, 1987, Acrylic on canvas, 60 in. x 98 in. x 4 in., Gift of Victoria and Dorn Dean, Scripps College

Kirk Pederson is a California artist interested in revealing the overlooked details that compose urban life. In the beginning of his career, Pederson took a photo realistic approach to depicting natural subjects. When he attended graduate school at San Francisco State University he recognized an opportunity to experiment outside the realm of realism and watercolors. A monotyping class allowed him to look for new subjects and he became fascinated by the permanence of pavements in the city. During the day, plants would cast shadows onto the pavement which would disappear at dusk, but the pavement remained. This spurred the creation of his “Urban Series” wherein he moved from realism to abstraction. Pederson developed a new method of painting, one that bore resemblance to Jackson Pollock’s, placing splatters of paint on the canvas and constructing city pavements out of abstraction. In Central Avenue, Pederson brings to life the worn, neglected sidewalks of the city. The rendering of the pavement illustrates Pederson’s photorealism background, while the colors speak to the artist’s response to his environment. The massive size of the canvas to able to illustrate, in detail, the small aspects of one section of pavement. Pederson’s representation of pavements from a unique close-up perspective illustrate how realism can transform into abstraction.

For more information, please see Katherine V. Warren, Kirk Pedersen: Desert Ruins/Road Relics (Regents of the University of California: 1991)

 

Jocelyn Lo, Getty Collections/Conservation Summer Intern, 2015

Image on homepage: Kirk Pederson, Central Avenue, 1987, Acrylic on canvas, 60 in. x 98 in. x 4 in., Gift of Victoria and Dorn Dean, Scripps College

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