Posts Tagged ‘Installation Art’


I’ve been trying to get together a Q & A with Kelley Johnson for years.  His exhibits at Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis have always been high-impact and worthy of more attention.  His September 2014 show of new paintings at the Greenlease Gallery on the campus of Rockhurst University in Kansas City upped the ante aesthetically once again.  So naturally I upped the pressure on Kelley to do something for this blog.  And here it is finally.  Kelley tells us about his new paintings, his studio life and some early experiences that inform his work.

 Unless otherwise noted, all installation shots are from Kelley’s exhibit at the Greenlease Gallery.  See more of Kelley Johnson’s work at his website or at Bruno David Gallery.

I know that you moved to Miami with your family a few years ago to focus on painting full-time.  Can you tell us a little bit about your life before the move?


I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis. My stepfather was a developer. He built subdivisions and apartment complexes. At the age of twelve I started working during summer breaks.  “40 hours a week.”  Looking back that seems like a lot but I remember it as a great experience. I started off as part of the cleanup crew. It didn’t take long before I began working with the framing crews and learning about the structural elements that go into most mid-western homes.  Typically the buildings we built were wood-framed structures and everything was “stick built” using 2 x 6’s or 2 x 12’s. Later I worked with the electrical crew and later with the finishing crews (trim, base boards etc).


I believe that this early experience had the most impact on how I think about constructing my work.  The way I think of space and structure I am sure comes from framing. (more…)


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Rachel Hayes: Ice Cold Daydream at Dolphin Gallery in Kansas City, September 4-November 7, 2009.

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Rebecca Ward, Shiver installation shot

Two reasons I am looking forward to Information Is Incidental, the collaborative exhibition of Kansas City’s Emily Sall and Austin’s Rebecca Ward at Paragraph Gallery in KC :

1.  It looks like it’s going to be super visually stimulating— a night of stripes, bands, zig-zags, bends, criss-crossing, depth, flatness.  We’re getting individual works from both artists—-paintings by Sall and an installation from Ward—and a collaborative installation by the two artists exploring common ideas of new, old and renewed spaces.

2.  This idea of synchronicity is really interesting.  The two artists apparently didn’t know each other at all before this process got started.  The project was set up by a local curator who saw some affinity between Ward’s and Sall’s work.   Both artists agreed lay ego aside and take a risk here.


Rebecca Ward, vector drawings

I asked the two artists how they were preparing for the project.

Rebecca Ward:  “In preparing for the show I’ve ordered 183 rolls of tape, made a bunch of vector renderings of the space, emailed back and forth with Emily, played around with isometric graph paper, and rearranged color palettes. I’ve also been drinking lots of tea, wearing my boots, frequenting swimming holes, and I carry my journal with me wherever I go just in case I get any new ideas.  That’s pretty much it. I’m super psyched about the show, I can’t wait to meet people in Kansas City and make some art there.”


Emily Sall, detail of painting

From Emily Sall: “Rebecca Ward and I have been corresponding with each though email over the past several months, so in a sense our collaboration has already begun. Our conversations have centered around our ideas and process…and what we are looking to achieve with the collaboration.  We are both interested in the idea that our works come together in such a way that is reactive, not only in terms of how we will respond individually to the space and architectural elements of the gallery, but also how our works will respond to each other.  We have been sending sketches back and forth, but nothing is set in stone!  I think the real magic will happen once we are in the Gallery together and yes the intuitive process will be a big part of how the piece will finally come together.”


Emily Sall, Betwixt and Between

I also asked Sall about her project for the Mo Bank Billboard initiative, which places work by artists on a billboard in Kansas City’s Crossroads District:  “The Mo. Bank billboard was created by taking an existing drawing and tracing it in illustrator.  From there I was able keep the elements that I like and change a great deal of it.  I was thinking about ever changing cityscape’s especially in terms of our city and the great change to the landscape downtown.  The drawing reveals it’s history through it’s layers old and new and suggests movement and a playfulness and speaks to the idea of the recycled!  The title of the piece “Betwixt and Between” is an English idiom meaning-In an intermediate position; neither wholly one thing nor another.”

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Jill Downen: Hard Hat Optional at Bruno David Gallery, April 10-May 9, 2009.  The gallery’s website shows has two pages, each showing different works in the exhibit.  One for the front room, and one for the main gallery. I’m probably not going to get a chance to make it over to the STL to see the show.  So, just judging from jpegs, it’s the Hybrida drawings in the front room that seem to me to be the most exciting.  Like that unnerving, overly flesh-y minimalism.  I’m just not sure if the works in the main gallery have that uncanny I-don’t-know-what.  Check out her website to see if you agree.

Here are a couple of Hybrida.




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The School of Fine Arts Gallery at Indiana University is putting on a two-part exhibition this fall. From SoFA’s description:

HUB is a unique exhibition project developed by Derek Parker, Jonathan Dankenbring, and LaRinda Meinburg, MFA students in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts in collaboration with Betsy Stirratt, Director and Rob Off, Associate Director of the SoFA Gallery. HUB will feature sculptural installations by Parker, Dankenbring, Meinburg, and Rob Off. This exhibition takes on an anthropological role, with installations that explore urban sprawl, the definition of living space, consumer design, and the collective unconscious.

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Michelle Oosterbaan

Michelle Oosterbaan’s densely detailed drawings are maybe not ideally suited for viewing as a jpeg.    Her work is a part of the Great Rivers Biennial at the Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Louis until April 20th.  Here are a couple of other links, with some details and installation shots:  To Roberta Fallon’s flickr photos.  And to a video made by the Contemporary.

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