“Julienne Johnson’s art seems sprightly and playful – at first. It celebrates material and light and the adventure of making art objects. But, at its most passionate – and at its core – it concerns itself with darker things, with motivations and weaknesses that betray the complexity of the human condition. Hers is an art that can be appreciated and enjoyed for its appearance, lucid and poised (if not always orderly). But it has a deeper resonance, even an urgency, that mirrors the anxieties of our times and the frailty of reason and morality.”
– Peter Frank
PETER FRANK is art critic for the Huffington Post and Associate Editor for Fabrik Magazine. He has served as Editor of THEmagazine Los Angeles and Visions Art Quarterly and as critic for Angeleno magazine and the L. A. Weekly. Frank was born in 1950 in New York, where he wrote art criticism for The Village Voice and The SoHo Weekly News, and moved to Los Angeles in 1988. Frank contributes articles to numerous publications and has written many catalogues for one-person and group exhibitions. Frank, who recently served as Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum, has organized numerous theme and survey shows, including “Driven to Abstraction: Southern California and the Non-Objective World, 1950-1988,” for the Riverside Art Museum; “Artists’ Books U.S.A.”, “Mapped Art: Charts, Routes, Regions” and “Line and Image: The Northern Sensibility in Recent European Drawing”, all for Independent Curators Inc.; “Fluxus Film and Video” for the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid; “Young Fluxus” for Artists’ Space in New York; “To the Astonishing Horizon” for Los Angeles Visual Arts; “Southern Abstraction” for the Raleigh (NC) City Gallery of Contemporary Art; “The Theater of the Object, 1958-1972” for New York’s Alternative Museum; “Visual Poetry” for the Otis/Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles; “Multiple World” for the Atlanta College of Art; and, most notably, “19 Artists – Emergent Americans,” the 1981 Exxon National Exhibition mounted at the Guggenheim Museum. Frank has taught at Pratt Institute, Columbia University’s School of the Arts, the Tyler School of Art, the University of California Irvine, Claremont Graduate School, California State University Fullerton, the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of California Los Angeles, Laguna College of Art and Design, and other institutions. McPherson & Co.-Documentext published his Something Else Press: An Annotated Bibliography in 1983. A cycle of poems, The Travelogues, was issued by Sun & Moon Press in 1982. Abbeville Press released New, Used & Improved, an overview of the New York art scene co-written with Michael McKenzie, in 1987. Frank has also published many artists’ monographs, including Roller: The Paintings of Donald Roller Wilson in 1988 and Robert De Niro, Sr. in 2004.
JULIÉNNE MARGARET JOHNSON was born in Sandusky, Michigan. She is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and assemblage. Having been engaged professionally in a variety of other creative disciplines, most notable is her songwriting. She was nominated for a Grammy in 1999 for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel, and was a Dove Award nominee in 2000 for Album of the Year, among other songwriting honors; her poetry has been published in numerous small press publications, anthologies and recorded on albums. Despite success in these areas, Johnson’s most profound connection is with the visual arts–her strongest, most direct form of communication. Johnson was trained as a fine arts major at Taylor University in Indiana, and at Wayne State and Oakland Universities in Michigan. She continued painting representationally for the next ten years doing commissions, while exhibiting minimally. Much later, after re-settling in Los Angeles, Johnson returned to studying art at Otis College of Art & Design, as well as at Art Center College of Design where she custom designed a Master’s level program and was mentored by the late Franklyn Liegel.
Johnson currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Keith Edwards. Her son Ross Johnson, DDS, resides in Michigan.
The exhibition is made possible by a gift from Taylor alumni and friends Roger and Naomi Muselman.