The Mark A. Chapman Gallery hosted realistic surrealist artwork on Monday in conjunction with a talk by Melanie Johnson titled “Close.” Johnson explained how experiencing different art forms helped shape his style and form in his future works.
“I wanted to address the things I think about and the role models I find in my job,” Johnson said.
Drawing inspiration from other artists as an undergraduate has helped her think about creating a narrative in her work, Johnson said.
“Philip Guston is someone I thought of,” she said. “There was something about his painting that really resonated.
“What I think that attracts me now and for a long time is that the paintings are both about venerable,” Johnson continued. “How do you approach the figure, how do you approach the human condition, and how do you deal with the issues of venerable and shame? “
The way a person creates art is something they said to look at when examining it.
“The brand carries as much weight as the subject,” Johnson said. “There is always the presence of the person, there is always the presence of the artist.
Towards the end of her college career, she began to move towards drawing instead of painting, which allowed her to create at a new rate.
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“What I discovered was that I discovered that I could work very quickly in drawing,” Johnson said. “Up to this point, drawing has always served my painting practice.”
Using the drawing as a preliminary to the painting, Johnson said she was thinking about how the drawing could do more work than them.
“It allowed me to fight against the things that I didn’t have complete control over in painting,” she said.
Her pregnancy with her son, Tilman, has led to more thinking about how we see our bodies compared to how we feel about them. Using herself as a model, she created pieces that would represent what she felt in her mind to be in a body.
“What is it like to inhabit a body and when does your body take over,” Johnson said. “I worked on a series of these drawings while I was pregnant thinking about this experience.”
Johnson also visited and spoke in class with art students. They were very grateful for some of the ideas she presented, said Teresa Schmidt, drawing teacher.
“Especially on the way the space is managed, they really appreciated that,” Schmidt said.
Johnson received her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Indiana University and is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at the University of Central Missouri, where she is also co-coordinator of the Foundation’s program. old.
The talk was presented as part of the Kansas State Department of the Arts 2018-2019 Visiting Artist Series and is funded by the SGA Fine Arts Fee.
“We are able to bring in dynamic visitors with this funding,” said Erin Wiersma, associate art professor and area coordinator, who helps coordinate these tours.