Janet Werner

Janet Werner


Janet Werner’s work as a painter focuses on the fictional portrait as a vehicle to explore notions of subjectivity and desire. Her paintings operate within and against the genre of conventional portraiture, taking found images of anonymous figures in popular culture and imbuing them with fictional personalities. The process of painting is a way of investigating the iconic power of the image, invoking imagination, memory, and projection to invest the nameless figure with human subjectivity and emotion. The final paintings are composite portraits that retain aspects of the original while also embodying notions of transformation, innocence, and loss. In her recent work, the artist incorporates collage as a springboard for the paintings, juxtaposing disparate images of the figure to emphasize ideas of displacement, rupture, and competing narratives within each individual work.

Janet Werner (b. 1959, Winnipeg, Manitoba) lives and works in Montreal, Canada, and holds an MFA from Yale University (New Haven). Werner’s work has been exhibited extensively across Canada, in the US and Europe. Notable exhibitions include the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal, Bradley Ertaskiran (Montreal), Almine Rech (Brussels), Kasmin Gallery (New York), Arsenal Contemporary Art (New York), Anat Ebgi (Los Angeles), the Art Gallery of Guelph (Guelph), and Whatiftheworld Gallery (Cape Town). A survey exhibition entitled Another Perfect Day, organized by the Kenderdine Art Gallery, was presented in five locations across Canada, including the Esker Foundation (Calgary). Werner’s work is held in public collections that include the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, University of Lethbridge (Alberta), the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Remai Modern (Saskatoon).

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, 1959

Lives and works in Montreal, Canada