Los Angeles

Aage Pedersen

Pasadena Museum

This Danish-American artist seems to have woven rather than drawn or printed his mysteriously organic black and white monoprints. He is a surrealist in sheep’s clothing, crucifying a doilied Jesus on a candy-box valentine cross of old lace. His work records evidence of the patterns in a clock, an apron, a flower, a tablecloth; the voluptuous allegory, in fact, of almost anything that has an actual or implied decorative order. Pedersen’s subject matter is created from the imagery inherent in humble decorative folk patterns (common objects).

“A pattern is a thing,” says the dictionary, “so ideal as to be worthy of imitation or copying.” Pedersen fragments, distorts, assembles and rearranges these copyable, mass-produce-able “things” into objects of lustrous, sensuous, Renaissance richness. More profoundly though, he documents a strangely disguised cryptic image that says something like “Calvary is my mother’s silk stocking stretched over a Moorish tile.” It may be subtle but it is there: the oddball sense of humor of Miss Julie poisoning a canary; the complicated hand-woven apron that his Scandinavian ancestors made with unfettered workmanship and technical absorption; the dark, dense black that is Bergman drama and the smooth silky spooky black that is the funeral top-hat; and the patient perfectionism of a conscientious watch-maker (which happens to be the way Pedersen earns his living).

Arthur Secunda