While Fayetteville’s Red & White Gallery paused exhibitions earlier this fall — and is now only open Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm — one of its stalwart artists is showcased in an important solo at the Galveston Arts Center. Cue Pat Johnson, a talent whose medium is ceramics.
For more than 40 years, this nationally exhibited, Fayetteville-based mistress of clay has spiked political fervor and social consciousness into droll, yet powerful sculptural vignettes and hand-painted tiles.
Regulars of Round Top and classical music denizens will also know Johnson through her day job as associate curator of collections at Round Top Festival Institute. Texas gallery goers recognize Johnson as one of the stars of the Red & White stable, with annual solo or groups shows that often sell out due to the works’ sly take on contemporary concerns.
For her latest exhibition, Galveston Arts Center curator Dennis Nance taps Pat Johnson to mirror this moment in America.
The resulting one-person show, “Nervous Waters,” mixes humor, metaphor and the artist’s signature anthropomorphic beings — in this case, Clown and Rabbit — to reflect upon the omnipresent Election cycle. Presciently, environmental topics also populate these latest clay creations.
“Through my art, I attempt to unveil my fears and desires. I show the fine line between the seen and the unseen, humor and sadness, right and wrong,” Johnson writes in her artist statement.
“Making my work clarifies beliefs and feeling — whether a social, political statement, or personal one.”
And significantly this exhibition brings with it an acquisitions opportunity for collectors of crafts, art and design to purchase totemic works by one of Texas’ seminal pioneers in clay.
Johnson’s decades in the intensive hand-built ceramics field has mirrored the elevation of the once humble medium of clay to the highest art form. There’s rarely a clay exhibition or competition where Johnson’s not been one of the selected talents, including prestigious shows organized by the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
And Houston’s Art Car Museum presented a solo show for Johnson in 2013, which until now, remains, one of her seminal exhibitions: “Artist Tries to Save the World.”
Sculptures from “Nervous Waters” are exclusively offered through Red & White Gallery’s online portal; from $1,000 to $3,500; a series of Tex-Mex hand-drawn dinner plates $80 each. Shop Pat Johnson through Red & White Gallery here.
And visit the exhibition in-person: Galveston Arts Center, 2127 Stand, open Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 pm. Find more info about “Pat Johnson: Nervous Waters,” here.