c e johnson
is an artist working and living in Alabama.
I’m interested in phenomenology—to sense something that is not present, or at least that which seems undefinable — a space out of reach, beyond our perception.
I attempt to channel — space, light, abstraction, spirit, sound, matter, self, God, geometry, presence — into images and objects of art.
The aim of my work is to imagine an alternate aesthetic and history of sacred images, objects, sounds, places, and practices through the lens of my own Southern Evangelical Christian cultural background where these kinds of ideas and objects are pointedly and historically absent.
My imagery and ideas result from an exploration of theories by modern physics about the nature of reality and my own study of ancient mystical religious traditions.
I am interested in how consciousness interacts with objects, places, or sounds to create the feeling of presence, or the idea of the sacred. In quantum mechanics, there is a link between mind and matter. The act of observation, an act of human consciousness, has been shown to influence physical reality. I am fascinated with the idea that observed objects, therefore, can acquire a sacred aura that could potentially be physically experienced.
Clay, earth, and stone are primal materials that have a visceral tactility, an immediate connection to place, and reflect the complex layered history of deep geological time. I collect rocks and minerals from the local landscape and grind them into pigments to use in paints and ceramic glazes for pottery and sculpture. My artistic practice is a contemplative spiritual practice. The works are intended to point beyond themselves towards the unseen and are meant to be healing objects, like sacred totems.
The Coleman Center for the Arts, "sacred matter(s)" a solo exhibition of recent works by c e johnson, York, Alabama. May 13th, - May 20th, 2022.
Contemporary Art Center of New Orleans, "Make America what America Must Become" an Exhibition of Gulf South Artists, New Orleans, Louisiana. Sept. 18th, 2020 - Jan, 24th, 2021.
The Huntsville Museum of Art, "The Red Clay Survey: 2020 Exhibition of Contemporary Southern Art," Huntsville, Alabama, August 9 - October 4, 2020.
Atlantic Gallery, 2020 Juried Exhibition "Seeing the Unseeable," Chelsea, New York, January 7-25, 2020.