We were blessed greatly yesterday to have the opportunity to sit down with the wonderfully enjoyable Saralyn Reece Hardy the director of the Spencer Museum of Art who in our humble opinion has done wonders for the museum as well as the art and artist’s of Lawrence, KS. Her no nonsense approach, quick smile and charm but even more importantly her true love of the arts, has quickly positioned her as a liaison between the museum world and the artists in the world. I would love to go more into our meeting, but we hope that this is an interview waiting to happen, as this was not the purpose of this visit. During our discussion which ranged all over the board from the down and out of the world and how we as artists can assist them rather than use them, to ways how the Spencer is positioning itself in the community, to kids with their joys and trails and of course art. Besides being an amazing resource of individual artists, Ms. Hardy suggested that we attend the opening of Stephen Johnson’s new show “An Abstract Alphabet: New Work by Stephen Johnson” which is tonight May 21, 2007 at 5:30pm at the Spencer Museum of Art.
Don, the artfully knowledgeable security guard showed us to “The Prints of Roger Shimamora” (which I highly recommend as well) and afterwards to the Stephen Johnson show.
I was struck, by Mr. Johnson’s since of humor and love of resin. The basis of the pieces are from abstract descriptions of the alphabet. Amazing landscape type paintings with a physical ladder, wrapped items that start with “w” to french fries flung on to a colorfield. Perhaps the most intriguing piece to me was one I got right away without having to look at the title, which was entitled M – Meditation on the Memory of a Princess. I asked Don where the pea was. He promptly responded that it was hanging above the pink 8 layered blow up mattress. We hope to see many of you tonight! Below is the article reproduced from the Spencer Museum of Art website.
An Abstract Alphabet: New Work by Stephen Johnson
May 19 – August 5, 2007
Expanding on Robert Rauschenberg’s playful curiosity with new materials, Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the “ready-made,” and Jeff Koons’ modus operandi of art as readily accessible, Stephen Johnson’s An Abstract Alphabet explores new ways of pulling abstractions from the real. Originally developed as a concept for a children’s book in 2001, this alphabet series has evolved into a body of work that uses a range of materials and interchanges collage, painting and sculpture. For each letter of the alphabet, Johnson has taken an ordinary object and made it unfamiliar, removing functionality to reveal the metaphorical associations that lie within. The Spencer is delighted to present the public debut of this work. The accompanying book, A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, will be published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Children in fall 2008.