Weinberger Fine Art’s exhibition, Point of Reference, features work by Stephen T. Johnson, Travis Pratt, and Debbie Barrett-Jones. The exhibition has been curated to showcase recent and previous artworks from each artist in an effort to encourage viewers to ask questions and make connections regarding the evolution of the artist’s studio practice. How does one series of work affect or overlap with the next and which questions do the artists continue to ask and answer through their studio practice?
Stephen T. Johnson
Stephen T. Johnson is a highly versatile American artist whose visually arresting and conceptually rich body of work forges connections between words, objects and ideas. His art spans a broad range of concepts, contexts and mediums including painting, collage, drawing, sculpture and installations and can be seen in museum and gallery exhibitions, site-specific public art commissions, and through his original award-winning children’s books.
Travis Pratt was raised in the midwest and studied Ceramics at The Kansas City Art Institute. Structures of human habitation have been a consistent theme in his paintings since undergrad. The early houses were often bright, loose and strange, stilted, or in scary weather to evoke different emotional states. All of these were imagined and realized without reference. After moving to New York in 2010 he set his favorite subject aside for a period of intense material and conceptual experimentation. In May of 2011 an F5 tornado leveled a large swath of his hometown, Joplin Missouri. Upon his return to help with the cleanup efforts there, he was confronted by tragedy and by a new perspective of his old muse. He spent three years developing a body of work painted from photographs he took during this time – most depicting family homes affected by the storm. Now his works range from tightly rendered pictures painted from photos of personal experience to abstraction and imagined portraits, but the common armature from which all his interconnected ideas grow is drawing. The practice of mark making in an attempt to describe physical reality or imagined circumstance is tightly woven with his view of the world and essential to translating his particular existence into memory.
Debbie Barrett-Jones left her small town in Iowa so she could pursue an education at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) and since graduation, has exhibited her work throughout the United States. Careful consideration goes into color, composition and material in each of her weavings. Her work reveals the beautiful communication that is the result of one color thread intersecting another. Her panels are comprised of vibrating colors and elegant patterns which create a narrative in flux according to the viewer’s proximity to each piece. The next step of Barrett-Jones’ studio investigation has the artist digitally recontextualizing her woven objects.