CountySt. Mary's County
MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)Prior to 2012
Artist StatementFrom the American Dreamscape project, Ready-Made Dream is an installation of found objects and printed images on vinyl that explores interconnections between mid-20th century aesthetics, consumer culture, and the American dream. These domestic interiors take inspiration from designs for the ideal home, in particular, the post-WWII suburban, single-family home and its miniature manifestation, the modern dollhouse. Rather than depicting domesticity in miniature, the artist's 10-foot-tall vinyl panels are larger-than-life, as if projecting a desire that is greater than reality. Ready-Made Dream is a contemporary updating of the vanitas painting tradition in which symbolic objects remind the viewer of the transitory nature of life and the folly of overemphasizing worldly goods. The work begins with gouache paintings that create the background for each room which are then scanned at high resolution and to which are added digitally collaged images from the artist’s collection of advertising, memorabilia and 3D objects - plus newly created wallpaper patterns for several of the rooms. The final digital collages, representing spacious rooms on flat stage scrims, are printed on vinyl by a commercial billboard company, blending notions of high and low, public and domestic, and are a reminder of the disposable nature of most consumer goods.
Sue Johnson was born in San Francisco, California in 1957. She earned a B.F.A. in studio art from Syracuse University and an M.F.A. in painting from Columbia University. The artist’s on-going project, The Alternate Encyclopedia, creates a parallel universe of pictorial knowledge based on historical, scientific and popular sources and imagines lost manuscripts, ponders divergent evolutionary paths and pictures nature in ways that illuminate our human impulse to capture, collect, name, tame, dominate and re-create nature. One-person exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held at the Tweed Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the Midwest Museum of American Art, Jan Cicero Gallery, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Carleton College, the McLean Project for the Arts, the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Munson Williams Proctor Institute, Bucknell University, Illinois State University, and Artists Space. Selected group exhibitions include shows at Michael Walls Gallery, White Columns, Wave Hill, Art in General, Lewis & Clark College, The Painting Center, Horodner-Romley Gallery and Caren Golden Gallery. She is the recipient of four individual artist fellowships from the Maryland State Arts Council, and fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation/National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the American Antiquarian Society and the American Philosophical Society, and residency fellowships from the Mac Dowell Colony, Art Omi International Artist’s Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, CAMAC - Centre de Art - Marnay Sur Seine, Arts/Industry Kohler Art Center, Jentel Artist Residency Program, Ragdale Foundation, and Millay Colony for the Arts. In 2010-11 she served as Scholar-in-Residence at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Oxford, and has twice been a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Johnson has taught painting and drawing at Herron School of Art, I.U.P.U.I., Parsons School of Design and Marymount Manhattan College. She is currently a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.