Installation view of "An Abstract Alphabet: New Works by Stephen Johnson," the Spencer Museum of Art, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2007.  “Stephen Johnson’s latest body of work,  An Abstract Alphabet  consists of twenty-six pieces that explore the dynamic and varied relationships between language and culture.  In his creative constructions, Johnson’s work acknowledges the arbitrariness of language and juxtaposes the absurd with the overlooked.  He alters the natural state of familiar objects in order to create original pieces that fit into a schema governed by the twenty-six letters of the alphabet.  By fusing objects linked only by their starting consonant, such as “typewritten text” “triangles” and “tarnished thumbtacks,” Johnson generates cohesive works, each inspired by one letter. Johnson’s work incorporates everyday objects in a playful manner and creates a new way of viewing the world.  His “Meditation on the Memory of a Princess” makes a bold statement with an oversized magenta mattress juxtaposed with a mini mauve marble.  Through re-contextualizing, Johnson’s innovative creations make viewers think about language and its relevance.” —  David Cateforis & Emily Ryan, Professor and curator, the Spencer Museum of Art
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