In her collage series, We Live on a Planet (2018-2019), Bethany Johnson layers clippings from the pages of nature magazines, science textbooks, atlases, graph paper notebooks and security envelopes, meditating on graphic representations of the natural world. In some cases, Johnson interlaces these assemblages with ink drawings that mimic the intricate visual structures produced by offset lithographs, Xerox photocopies, and letter press diagrams. Streaks of colorful rosette patterns, dye clouds, and yellowing paper result in a complex puzzle of organic textures, gridded halftones, and white noise. These strikingly familiar yet alien landscapes document Johnson’s interest in the history of methods that were designed to reproduce, represent, measure, and analyze natural phenomena in the twentieth-century.
Bethany Johnson (b. 1985, La Porte, IN) lives in Austin, Texas and is an Assistant Professor at the School of Art and Design at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. She received her BFA in Studio Art from Kalamazoo College, Michigan (2007) and her MFA in Painting from The University of Texas at Austin (2011). She has exhibited internationally and throughout the United States at the Moody Gallery, Houston (2019); Wild Basin Creative Research Center, Austin (2019); Texas State Galleries, San Marcos (2019); Illinois State Museum, Lockport, IL (2018); MASS Gallery, Austin (2017); Edwin W. Zoller Gallery, State College, PA (2017); Perry and Carlson Gallery, Mount Vernon, WA (2017); Shoestring Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2017); The Wright Gallery at Texas A&M University, College Station, (2016); The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas (2013); and Laguna Gloria, Austin (2012) amongst others. Johnson has been awarded artist-in-residence fellowships at the Institut für Alles Mögliche in Berlin, Germany; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson; Wild Basin Creative Research Center, Austin; Soaring Gardens Artist Retreat, Laceyville; and Denkmalschmiede Höfgen, Grimma, Germany.
Organized by Taylor Bradley, 2018–19 Visual Arts Center Curatorial Fellow