The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs

Stephen T. Johnson – Summer 2016

“Kana Abstraction Series”

June 10-July 31, Opening Reception on June 25, 2pm-5pm

Working within the 2 x 3 inch format of Japanese Kana Cards and using their black calligraphic characters as an inspirational point of departure, Johnson mixes the unctuous fluidity of paint with the vernacular constructs of collage to produce works combining spontaneity and measured thought.  These compositions invite explorations of a complex topographical world where colors, textures, and movement engage both eye and mind. Whether in their diminutive original format or photographically enlarged to almost twelve-hundred percent (1200%) in archival pigment prints, these paintings are beautiful examples of how, using paint-laden brushwork, at once explosive and measured and coupled with the physicality and elegance of paper collage, Johnson brings to the viewer a unique visual experience.

The other prints in this exhibition represent Johnson’s non-imagistic abstractions. As in the Kana Card series, these images explore the interrelations of language and the visual arts which he celebrates through intuition, the pulse of passion, and play, as he did in the series of “Literal Abstractions” in his A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 and designated by The New York Times as a Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

Stephen T. Johnson’s visually arresting and conceptually rich body of work forges connections between words, objects and ideas.  His art spans a broad range of concepts and contexts and can be seen in site-specific public art commissions, gallery and museum exhibitions, and original award-winning children’s books such “Alphabet City,” a Caldecott Honor and a New York Times Best Illustrated book of the year.

His drawings and paintings are in numerous private collections including those of musician Paul Simon and actress Cherry Jones, and in the permanent collections of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg Pennsylvania, the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut, and the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Among his public art is a 70-foot mosaic mural at the DeKalb Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn New York, a 60-foot mosaic mural at the Universal City Metro Station in North Hollywood, Los Angeles California, and 33 glass panels for the Dallas Love Field Airport, in Dallas, Texas.

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