Eating Wonderland: Recent Works by Sue Johnson
Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond, February 8 through June 15, 2008
Born in San Francisco, Johnson received her B.F.A. in studio art from Syracuse University and her M.F.A. in painting from Columbia University. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York; Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania; Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, New York; and a traveling exhibition organized by the Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth. She has received several national grants, fellowships, and residencies including the Arts/Industry Program, John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; the City of Salzburg/Salzburg Künstlerhaus Residency Fellowship, Salzburg, Austria; the American Philosophical Society, André Michaux Library Research Fellowship, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship Award. Johnson is presently Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Eating Wonderland presents publicly for the first time a selection of three-dimensional work that Johnson created in the Arts/Industry, a long-term residency program of the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and funded by Kohler Company, Kohler, Wisconsin. Johnson’s participation resulted in a series titled Incredible Edibles, which consists of ceramic castings of objects imbued with nostalgia and commercialism related to eating, such as TV-dinner trays and figurines of characters from advertising like the Pillsbury Doughboy and Sprout, the young companion to the Jolly Green Giant.
The accompanying series Episodes in a Fantastic Landscape, comprised of mixed media two- dimensional images, likewise focuses on issues of food and consumption and includes fantasy elements, and a sense of impending violence or doom lurks within each piece. Finally, her over 16-foot wide painting New Stories from Wonderland (Life of the Dodo), created specifically for this exhibition, merges all of these themes while including specific references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandand commentary on the environment.
Eating Wonderland: Recent Work by Sue Johnson was organized by the University of Richmond Museums and curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University of Richmond Museums, with assistance from the artist. The exhibition has been made possible in part with funding from the University of Richmond’s Cultural Affairs Committee.