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Unseen Traces

in the Work of Ann Johnson

September 15, 2022 - March 11, 2023

The Ruth and Seymour Landfield Atrium

Plains Art Museum will host the work of Ann Johnson in the exhibition Unseen Traces in the Work of Ann Johnson. Reflecting on her 2022 Lawndale Contemporary Art Center installation, See Me, Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson is matter-a-fact about the intent: “This is about being seen. Seeing the women in the shadows.”

Incorporating experimental printmaking on found objects to produce “work that breathes conversation” and “question humanity,” Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson occupies that threshold between ancestral legacies and historical futures. The artist, Ann Johnson, occupies a space—on, among, and with ancestral spirits—that is at once both “magical and distressing,” to bring forth artistic work that examines family, community, and Black Womanhood. In so doing, it interrogates what it means to survive in a world when that world itself “is too damn much.” Consequently, Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson pursues these “traces”—the mark of the absence of a presence. Therefore, she presents us with an intricate polymer intaglio process “on cotton and infuses an assimilation of found objects with contemporary imagery. With other poignant processes Johnson honors those women in the shadows and captures “layers and levels of womanhood” via a “transfer printmaking process on vintage and aged-metal ironing boards.” She discerns and embraces the intimacies of family portraits and personal stories by rendering them legible against the surfaces of objects that hold symbolic and historical significance.

Born in London, England, UK, and raised in Wyoming, USA, Ann Johnson received her MA in Humanities (University of Houston-Clear Lake) as well as her MFA from the Academy of Art University (San Francisco) with a concentration in printmaking. Her work has been exhibited at: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Museum of Printing History, Houston, TX; Women and Their Work Gallery, Austin, TX; Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; Tisdale Beach Institute, Savannah, GA; Charles H. Wright Museum, Flint, MI; The Apex Museum, Atlanta, GA; and, at the California African American Art Museum located in Los Angeles, CA.

Plains Art Museum thanks our generous PlainsArt4All members and donors, and our Organizational Partners for their support. Additional support provided by The McKnight Foundation, Bush Foundation, The Arts Partnership, The FUNd at Plains Art Museum, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funds from the North Dakota Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
1: Ann Johnson, Time Won’t Give Me Time, 2021, intaglio on raw cotton, found objects • 2: Ann Johnson, Injurious George from the auction block series, 2021, intaglio on raw cotton, transfer print, fabric, found objects

Writing the Self: Poetics and Portraits
Four Sessions: Sundays on October 9, 16, 23, 30
Special Guest Teaching Artists: Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson & Stephanie Lemmer

Writing the Self: Poetics and Portraits (WSPP) is an experimental program in conceptual art, that pursues a rigorous interdisciplinary engagement with poetic/narrative self-reflection and mixed-media self-portraiture. Seven to ten young women of color (ages 13-19) are invited to participate in this free program where they creatively explore and make conceptual artwork that responds to contemporary issues of cultural representations and gender, class, race, and sexuality. Program participants will explore conceptual artistic practices culminating in an individual zine, a professional publication, and an exhibition for the public. More information and application here.

For more information about WSPP and/or participation contact Dr. Kelvin Monroe kmonroe@plainsart.org or Amanda Heidt aheidt@plainsart.org.

Artist in Residence
October 17 – 22
Through this week in October, Ann Johnson will be creating prints at Hannaher’s, Inc. Print Studio. Stop by in the afternoons to meet the artist and learn about her printmaking process.

Artist Talk
Thursday, October 20, 6 PM

Ongoing Exhibitions

No Time For Despair

Ongoing
No Time For Despair

To say that right now is the ideal time to make art that speaks directly to the people about social justice is an understatement. Because the very nature of art is to undertake or assume the role of a healer by shading light on the human condition.

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Bee in Flight

Ongoing
Bee in Flight

Community artist and school art teacher MeLissa Kossick, who guides youth classes at the Museum on art, gardens, and pollinators, has created an enchanting mosaic design in the Creativity Pathway in the Serkland Gallery called Bee in Flight.

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S.P.A.C.E.

Ongoing
S.P.A.C.E.
Kaleidoscope

The S.P.A.C.E. (Sculpture Pad Art Collaborative Experiment) project is a public art initiative undertaken collaboratively between Plains Art Museum, and the college art departments at North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and Concordia College.

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The North Dakota Mural

Ongoing
The North Dakota Mural

Drawing on his childhood memories of the Great Plains, he created a work that speaks to the wide open spaces, huge vistas, and ocean-like skies of the region.

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Fragile Preservation

Ongoing
Fragile Preservation
A Tallgrass Community

While the Tallgrass Prairie is a community made up of a great diversity of species, Fragile Preservation represents a selection of them.

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