Stacie Johnson@EBERSMOORE213 N Morgan StChicago, IL60607
"Stacie Johnson makes art from the everyday items that she finds in her immediate surroundings. In her process of creating seemingly abstract works, Johnson first builds a temporary sculpture out of such items as fabric, pink Styrofoam, paper, tape, wood, and string. Johnson carefully observes these weird tableaus of line and color, studies the forms and shadows, then re-creates the sculptures in paint. In the translation from sculpture to painting, Johnson concentrates on the tension between illusion and flatness, condensing the accumulated passages in the 3-dimensional forms to embody similar relationships in a flat image. The paintings allow the viewer simultaneously to believe in and recognize the means of illusion. Stacie chooses this practice as a way to participate in the discussion of abstract painting while fulfilling a personal desire to express the extrasensory within the physical. "Press Release
Flat image versus 3-D is an aspect of abstract painting that gets the full treatment here in this work. I like to see a painter address problems this directly. Knowing that the artist first builds a 3-D sculpture is helpful. This process seems parallel to painting realistic work by first making a photo.Can a realistic depiction of an actual (abstract?) object be an abstraction?
Press the geometry a little more and we head into Op Art, make the geometry a little more concrete, and figuration beckons, if only in a cautious Cubist manner. This is vital territory these days when the issue is really how abstract, rather than if or when. Cross asks can a 'realistic' picture of an abstract object, be an abstract picture? And this is pretty much what Duchamp started off asking with his version of Cubism/Futurism, in works like Passage from Virgin to Bride in 1912. Or, is there such a thing as a 'pure' or Platonic cube or cone or other geometric solids? How pure or absolute can our constructions be? Where do we locate these fundamental spaces? The questions quickly appeal to larger metaphysical issues that philosophy continues to find controversial. For the abstract painter there is little comfort in knowing that realism itself evaporates in this discussion. For, there can be no absolute version of the concrete or figurative either – not even photography can get us to a ‘form-free’ version of content. Content, as the Romantics long ago declared, is indissoluble from form. The debate currently, is one of usage or dominance – what can the abstract painting claim as its own? Is light (and shade or tone) necessarily a property of the concrete because freighted with three-dimensionality? Painters today really argue with established usages, such as advertising or instruction, documentation and tradition. This is where they look for standards in what is and is not taken as a purely two-dimensional realm or a three-dimensional but hypothetical or abstract realm. The issue clearly becomes very complex! Johnson joins the discussion at an exciting, if confusing time.
Then again, would it be more at home on a computer screen?