The exhibition Accumulations: The Art of Joelle Ford and Stephen T. Johnson brought together two Kansas-based artists who playfully transform mundane materials into witty assemblages.
Joelle Ford looks for value in the unusual and unexpected, a habit passed on by her parents and grandparents who lived through the Great Depression. Collecting discarded objects from her environment, as well as items from antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales Ford accumulated a mass of material to inspire her creatively and serve as ‘raw material’. Oftentimes, the objects gather for years before Ford knows how she wants to recycle them into a work of art.
In her low-relief works, the artist blends painting and sculpture. Color, or its absence, is a key element in her assemblages. She often uses vivid colors or bold geometries to play with perception; it is not until viewing the piece up close that Ford’s materials reveal themselves for what they are—common objects. For example, Ford’s large-scale installation Circles of Color, Series I (2008–2010) brings together over 600 paint can lids with bright splashes of paint.
Stephen T. Johnson also looks to everyday items, yet instead of abstracting the objects he celebrates their uniqueness. In addition to being an artist Johnson is an acclaimed children’s book author who combines the literary with the visual arts in his work. The pieces featured in the exhibition correspond to his book, A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet. For this series, Johnson composed playful alliterative phrases that form a portrait of both an everyday object and the way he depicted it. In Ice Cream Floats (2005–2007) for example, Johnson’s text states exactly what the piece portrays: “indoors, in an institutional interior, is an installation of individually illuminated, isolated, immobilized, immersed, inverted, identical, insoluble imitation ice cream cones.”
Above: Photograph of the 2012 installation of the exhibition at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
The exhibition Accumulations brought together two Kansas-based artists who playfully transform mundane materials into witty assemblages.
Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.
Support for this exhibition was provided by MAX Credit Union and Doug’s 2 Salon-Spa.