Thursday, October 19, 2017

Curator's Notes: Spotlight on Carla Rae Johnson

Carla Rae Johnson, Please Touch Vesuvius, 2000

Carla Rae Johnson is a gifted artist whose accolades include a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, the Westchester Arts Council Design Commission for Cultural Tourism, the Studios Midwest Artist in Residence, and a Pollock-Krasner Grant.  Moreover, she is a much-beloved professor (or to quote her students: "awesome!"), an activist and a leader among artists in the Westchester/Hudson River area (she runs a fabulous salon).  Carla Rae's contribution to Bosom Bodies is part of her Séance Series, entitled Please Touch Vesuvius: Emily Dickinson Meets Marcel Duchamp.

Carla Rae explains: "Begun in 2000, this series proposes hypothetical meetings between creative and historic figures who never met during their life-times. The very first installment of this series is Emily Dickinson Meets Marcel Duchamp. In, The Séance Series the women in the sculptures and drawings pose a feminist challenge to their male counterparts testing courage and creative wits."   

Please Touch Vesuvius: "Asked to design an invitation in 1947, Duchamp submitted a rubber cast of a woman’s breast adhered to black velvet and titled Please Touch  Emily Dickinson, in several of her poems compares her explosive poetic powers (and, perhaps, some smoldering angers) to the natural force and heat of a volcano.  The juxtaposition of breast and volcano creates associations rich in visual/formal relationships, powerful contrasts, and gender role reversals."

Carla Rae Johnson,  Audre Lorde Meets Abraham Lincoln, 2007

Another installation from The Séance Series is a bridge made of rope and wood,  75 x 96 x 48 inches, which conceptualizes Audre Lorde Meets Abraham Lincoln, exhibited at Ceres Gallery in 2007.  The artists wrote: "Lorde and Lincoln play 'bridge.'   This bridge is not a card game, but a physical, symbolic span across an obstacle.  I think Audre Lorde would have confronted Lincoln on issues of race, power, and privilege, so it is Lincoln who must build the bridge. Not a straightforward crossing, this is a difficult, jagged transition; composed of huge steps, twists, inclines, and internal tensions.  At the top of the center of the crossing is a “spirit-level” symbolic of the quest to equalize and create a more level ground. Beneath the bridge sits the 'house.' Emblematic of the existing social structure, 'the master's house,' is the obstacle that must be bridged with understanding and common ground, level ground, so that together Lorde and Lincoln can dismantle its walls and work toward a just future."  Both Please Touch Vesuvius and Audre Lorde Meets Abraham Lincoln speak to Carla Rae's commitment to feminist issues and social justice.

Carla Rae Johnson, from PTSD (Post Trump Series of Drawings), 2017

Carla Rae's latest project is PTSD (Post Trump Series of Drawings), a sassy, savvy book of politically charged comments that features the artist's extraordinary draftsmanship. It is an absolute pleasure to pore over these beautifully limned images besides appreciating her astute appropriations of popular culture (yes, Carla Rae, it feels like Oz and we want to go home to Auntie Em).  Twenty percent (20%) of the sales price ($15) goes to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Come celebrate Carla Rae Johnson's PTSD (Post Trump Series Drawings) at her book party!

Sunday, October 29th
923 Central Avenue, Peekskill, NY
 1- 4 PM.  

And then come to our Performances, Panel Discussion and Closing Party for Bosom Bodies, 3 - 5 PM, at SIA Gallery, 1 South Division Street, just down the road from the Bruised Apple.

* * *

Bosom Bodies remains open through October 29th.  Please join us this week for a slide lecture on "The History of the Breast in Art" offered by curator Beth S. Gersh-Nesic on Sunday, October 22nd, at 2 PM.   Gallery Hours: Friday,  Saturday, Sunday, 12 noon - 5 PM.

Bosom Bodies is a 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Christina Thomas: Healing Through Art

Christina Thomas,  "Hope" Prayer Box,  2017, featured in the  Bosom Bodies  exhibition, 2017 Spring is finally here!  And w...