[excerpt of review by Mark Jenkins, Dec. 25, 2020]
“The creatures in Sue Johnson’s “Hall of Portraits From the History of Machines” are more than the sum of their parts. But the parts are pretty great — sleek, stylish and erotic, if in an airbrushed, antiseptic way.
Central to Johnson’s VisArts show are satirical paintings of mid-20th-century American women and the home and office products designed for their use. The impeccably clad and coifed housewives and secretaries don’t simply employ the steam irons, sewing machines and other devices — they actually meld with them. One subject has a coffee pot for a torso, and another traded her hips and thighs for a hard-sided suitcase. A blonde, with a coy expression and demonstrating plastic wrap, flaunts the ultimate wasp waist: the stem of a glass goblet.”
Paste this link into your browser for PDF of full review:
Saul Ostrow reviews Selections from Hall of Portraits from the History of Machines
“Sue Johnson is a cultural historian, an archeologist of other dimensions. She has a sharp eye for the overlooked and the never-was. You can imagine her as the guest host for an episode for The Twilight Zone that takes place in a department store that caters to male fantasies. The women are not only compliant, they are smiling, labor-saving appliances. […]These are, or would have been, the products of a time when men foolishly believed they ruled the world. The exhibition is not a showroom but a storeroom, housing the artifacts of our primitive, eroticized world of the masculine ideals that too many women still try to accommodate.”
Selections from Hall of Portraits from The History of Machines at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Aug 14, 2020 to June 1, 2021
Johnson is a 2020-21 recipient of a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Visual Arts Fellowship
Hall of Portraits from The History of Machines
September 11 – January 3, 2021 (extended date)
VisArts, Gibbs Street Gallery, Rockville, MD
Video of exhibition walk-through with audio excerpts of an interview with the artist:
Illustrated full-text interview with Megan Koeppel
Made in Paint 2020 exhibition of 2019 Golden Foundation Residency fellows coming online soon. The exhibition has been installed at the Sam and Adele Golden Gallery and will be available to view in person (soon, fall 2020 - spring 2021) and in online formats (also coming soon). The exhibition catalog is available now with excerpts at the link above. Johnson was awarded a one-month residency fellowship in June-July 2019.
Sam and Adele Golden Gallery
188 Bell Road, New Berlin, NY 13411
View online: July 15 – August 27, 2020
The two jurors, Sarah Tanguy, curator and arts writer, and Henry L. Thaggert, collector and art patron, created two separate exhibits, each drawing from the same pool of works.
The works in this exhibition focus on the concept of shift, change or exchange, in paradigm, position, direction, tendency, viewpoint, atmosphere, needs, dreams, schedules, interactions, environment, perspective…
View Sarah Tanguy’s exhibition for which Johnson’s work has been selected:
Awarded a residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA (summer 2019). Hosted by MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program, selected artists receive private studio space on MASS MoCA’s campus, newly renovated housing, free access to the museum’s galleries throughout the residency, optional financial and business coaching from Assets for Artists staff, and a daily group meal.