Flower Pepper Gallery is pleased to present Wanderlust, a solo show by Valerie Pobjoy. This exhibition showcases the broad talent of one of Los Angeles’ most exciting up-and-coming artists and gives us a unique perspective of how she sees the world around her. Rather than adhere to a strict theme, she has given herself the opportunity to paint freely and wander through her many interests.

“While working, I felt self conscious about incoherence in the subjects of my paintings. Forcing a theme stifled my practice and I had a hard time finding motivation. I thought there should be a clear, linear theme that should be easily read by the viewer. I had to let go of the idea of an obvious direction. I realized that this was a lesson I have to apply to my life, my path is not neatly outlined and easily understood.”

Through her decision to paint without reserve, we see a collection of work that is both immensely honest and fluid. Our thoughts and dreams are hardly linear or follow any one theme. Like this exhibition, they roam and move freely between reality and fantasy. This body of work acts like a stream of consciousness, and is effortlessly brought together through the lens of the artist and her unique painting style.

Inspired by Degas and Manet, she brings a historical sensibility to our modern world. In pieces for this exhibition such as Empty Stage and Corrupted, what might seem mundane at first glance becomes elevated and even memorialized with each expressive brushstroke. Her brilliant Contemporary Realistic lens is the thread that brings together each portrait, landscape, and still life. Both urban and natural settings are treated with the same respect and reverence and offers up the existential question about beauty in the eye of the beholder. Additionally, inspired by the great Frida Kahlo, her portraits carry a similar complexity in the way we see her subjects. However, rather than staged sittings, we see people caught in moments of thoughts and daydreams that extend beyond their presence in this world. For pieces like Stroke of Midnight and Wildflower, we ask questions and feel drawn to the emotion like moths to a flame. Her work is compelling in the way it elevates these moments we might otherwise overlook and offers them up for exactly what they are. This raw approach is perhaps all the more fascinating in our glitz-and-glamor world where things are often manipulated to hide the truth rather than celebrate it for all that it is.

However, her paintings of animals and mythological creatures show us different kind of honesty by highlighting the simplicity of instinct and intuition in nature. In Hybrid and Fellowship we see the awe-inspiring nature of wolves and feel the presence of these magnificent creatures undisturbed in their environment. However, in Dawn and Settled, we feel a different connection by observing the simple and pure relationship between a dog and its family. These paintings highlight what most people love about nature and its creatures. There is authenticity that can’t be replicated and genuine beauty that will forever be revered.

This exhibition has many layers that are as beautiful as they are intriguing. In the words of the artist herself, “Wanderlust illustrates a world where nothing coheres. Letting go of the need to make sense, I can take down the boundaries between fantasy and reality and just wander.”