The land is the source of my materials and the source of my ideas. The unique origin and history of a material sparks my imagination.
Stone embodies and imbues time. Liquid magma spews from the earth's core, merges with air or seawater, and as it cools, forms granite and basalt. I find this elemental and alchemic process awe-inspiring. As an artist I go through a similar alchemical process. I take a nebulous idea and transform it into a painting or sculpture. When I created the sculpture Memory of Rain, I cut and polished the solid basalt, melding its molten origins into the shape of falling raindrops or tears.
My sculptures River Mouth, History of Water and Web are made of bronze horsetail grasses and stone. Horsetail or equisetum has flourished on earth for a hundred million years. It is a living fossil. I use ceramic shell molds to direct cast horsetail grasses into bronze. NASA engineers invented ceramic shell because they required a material to withstand the intense heat of a rocket hurling through earth's atmosphere. The principal ingredient of ceramic shell is silica and it’s also the primary element in horsetails.
Silica is also a basic part of stone and of course is the sand on the beach. When I walk barefoot on the beach, and when I make art, I am physically, philosophically and spiritually at the heart of the whole fabulous complexity of life.
With knowledge, inspiration, training and tools, I enter the unknown, striving to convey the fluidity of time, the weight of mountains, the openness of sky.
Rebecca Johnson grew up in an art centric family in rural Hopewell, New Jersey. Her parents were designers, artists and art educators. Life is art was the family credo. This philosophy enriched and continues to inform Rebecca’s art and career.
As a young artist Rebecca embraced the path of the successful professional. She received her BFA from Tyler School of Art and her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She studied bronze casting at the Johnson Atelier in New Jersey and stone carving in quarries in Vermont. Grants, fellowships, shows in galleries and museums, commissions, critical acclaim and teaching positions at Dartmouth and Kenyon Colleges distinguished her career.
A fulcrum of change occurred when The British American Arts Council awarded her a three-month fellowship to work in Northwest Wales. In this land of stonewalls, craggy mountains, wild coast and rich folkloric history Rebecca’s ideas gestated. Time and solitude created space for her to thoroughly see and imbibe the light, color and form of the land. Her exterior and interior visions integrated and enhanced each other. Rebecca discovered a new degree of courage and conviction to follow her work to its true ultimate power, rural nature and a poetic vision.
Rebecca returned home to Philadelphia where her next project was the transformation of a cavernous train depot into a designer showroom for Material Culture in Philadelphia. The completion of rich earth tone and midnight blue murals, one hundred feet long and thirty feet high, reassured her a personal metamorphosis was also possible. She packed her tools, cats and dog and headed west.
Rebecca now lives and works in Northern California, Mendocino County, a place of raw elemental forces. Her studio is in the Anderson Valley. Inside a large renovated barn she creates paintings. The doors of the studio open to a hillside meadow filled with her stone sculpture. The calm beauty of this rural place resonates from her work.
for RESUME and more information please see my website