While I am influenced by the southern tradition of narrative figure painting, my work focuses mainly on drawing. My drawings have paint, of course, but they are not really paintings—the drawn line is what tells the tale. I use painting and mixed media elements enhance the mark making, and reassert the shallow space of the picture plane. The pops and veils of color and the stained surfaces provide a ragged sort of embellishment. But line is what makes the edges and directs the characters and each mark provides a kind of unstable punctuation. My drawings are informed by psychoanalytic theory, symbolist poetry, and absurdist humor. Each work has a cast of characters, images and elements, in flattened landscapes or ambiguous spaces. I set up these vignettes as a way of investigating what makes people be the way they are, but I am the worst sort of detective. I just like to pile up clues and rearrange them into melancholic jokes, farcical calamities and occasional moments of grace.
Kathryn Jill Johnson
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.