“I try and push the edges of what is acceptable, or considered acceptable, and there’s a way to do that with subtlety and with humor. I would love it if people see the work and find they laugh.” (Article from an excerpt on the series from when it exhibited at Boltax Gallery.)
"There are obvious ways one can be inappropriately dressed – for the season, for one’s age, for an event – and it can be slightly embarrassing, or in the case of Janssen’s paintings, it can be both awkward and revelatory. A moment normally cloaked in privacy, now shared with the world at large. And while appropriateness is a relative term, feeling self-conscious is universal. “Everyone has felt inappropriately dressed at some point ... whether deliberately, by circumstance or by accident,” says Janssen."
Inappropriate Gardeners: Chris & Shawn, 4' x 6'
"Janssen’s previous subjects were taken from early 20th century photographs, but for this series she intentionally “pulled it back to the really, really personal” enrolling friends and neighbors to model. Bathed in aqua and light, the artist creates portraits that are striking both for their distinctive hue and sympathetic point of view. “They all have something a little classical about them, with an awkward storyline going through ... it’s sort of Norman Rockwell-ish, but in a darker, starker way”. Each represents a true collaboration between artist and sitter. In some, like “Inappropriate Jogger”, the starting point was the costume and the setting, the artist seeking out the model, then photographing him. In other cases, the stories inspired the paintings. “Kitchen Ninja” came about because the subject’s husband mentioned that his wife always cooks in her underwear. In “Tub Cowboy”, a lean, suited man holding a dog agreed to stand in the tub, “it just felt right to get him wet, he was going through a breakup and needed catharsis.”
"Suffused with her signature greenish blue tones and strong shadows, Janssen’s canvases, while large, have the intimate feel of a faded 60s-era Kodachrome snapshot. “I like using unnatural colors, in a way to make them natural.” And like looking at a black and white photograph, there is an intensity when you narrow down the color palette, you really see the detail.
“We’re living in a strangely isolated, robotized world of email and computers, and we really look for and seek connection,” says Janssen. It’s that click of recognition that makes her portraits so compelling, when we realize those moments that single us out, are also what connects us. Like the woman in a red polka-dot skirt who only reveals her inappropriateness in the title, “Sundays Are For Walks Of Shame”.
“I try and push the edges of what is acceptable, or considered acceptable, and there’s a way to do that with subtlety and with humor. I would love it if people see the work and find they laugh.”