Detroit artist Jack Johnson makes Toledo debut at DivaWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For a number of months, the Downtown restaurant/art gallery Diva has been sponsoring monthly exhibitions in collaboration with Quest for Fire Studios, the creation of local artists Jerry Gray and Kerry Krow.
This month’s exhibition, which opened June 3, features the work of Detroit painter/sculptor Jack Johnson. Johnson, whose work has appeared in more than 40 shows in Detroit, is making his Toledo debut. Johnson, who spent 25 years in the military, works solely as an artist.
He has also donated artwork to the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, the Masonic Temple’s Artworks for Life and The Heidelberg Project.
Johnson has also served as a curator at Cafe Detroit, 4731 Gallery, and Musee D’Troit. Johnson, who has studied the work of such artists as Motherwell, Basquiat, Rauschenburg, Twombly, Pollock, Dibenkorn, Newton, Guyton, de Kooning and Picasso, is self-taught.
He said he sees his art as a blessing from God, in the end, considers himself merely a vessel.
“Some of the best art I have ever witnessed was done by people who were not famous, well known, or trained,” he said. “Just people like you and me. Art is part luck, part good idea, part skill, but mostly it’s effort.”
His work, which deals directly and indirectly with issues of race, anger, death, money and passion, has an almost childlike quality. His use of color expresses raw intensity and a sense of emotional economy, in terms of its use of space.
While Johnson may have learned a great deal from a number of skilled artists from earlier periods, his work seems to be deeply concerned with the plight of the modern, and more importantly, living artist.
Johnson’s connection with the Toledo art scene began with his participation in Terry A. Burton’s “Sub America: 1984” group show last year at the 555 Studio in Detroit.
Next month, Diva will feature the work of Jerry Gray and Kerry Krow in a joint exhibition.
Diva is located at 329 N. Huron Street. Call (419) 324-0000 for further information.