Josée Pedneault Nævus

CONTACT Gallery ⁠ accessible_forward

Montreal-based artist Josée Pedneault explores the idea of the existential quest and notions of fate and uncertainty in Nævus. The exhibition title is a Latin word meaning “what we are born with.” In this context, it refers to a mysterious mark in the shape of an island’s coast that appeared on the artist’s back when she was seventeen. Pedneault interpreted this mark as a metaphor for destiny, and embarked on a search to locate this island in the real world.

Pedneault’s installation includes photographs, as well as paintings, sculptures, and various accumulated materials that have served in her research and process of imagining where this island might be located, what it might look like, and what its characteristics might be. Nævus is a work in progress that emphasizes the process of discovery. Pedneault describes the project as “a relentless and unrealistic pursuit, and the road that is built around it, rather than the outcome. The imagined island thus becomes a territory of expectations, a universe where all is possible, where the fictional is laid atop the tangible.”


Josée Pedneault’s work has been shown in national and international venues, such as TYPOLOGY (Toronto, 2015), Museo Universitario del Chopo (Mexico City, 2014), and Darling Foundry (Montreal, 2012), among others. She will take part in a residency at the Tokyo Wonder Site in 2016, and has completed residencies in Reykjavik (SIM, 2011), Mexico City (CALQ, 2009), Paris (CALQ, 2008), and Warsaw (Les Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes, 2006). She also creates large-scale public art projects; her most recent is a permanent artwork in the new McGill University Health Centre in Montreal (2014). Pedneault holds an MFA in studio arts from Concordia University, where she also teaches in the photography program.

Pedneault is the recipient of the 2015 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. Chosen by an international jury, this award recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT’s annual Reviews. CONTACT acknowledges the Ontario Arts Council, Vistek, and Toronto Image Works for supporting this award.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Arts Council.