Pat Johnson, Texas Sculpture Group

From Fayetteville, Texas

Artist Statement:

"Pat Johnson's narrative ceramic sculpture and tile works reference political and social issues. Her influences span a range from antiquity to popular culture. In these imaged scenarios, the artist depicts herself as a character physically taking action against racial injustice, political corruption and corporate greed. Her animated sculptures display remarkable detail and realism. While the humor characterizing Johnson's works quickly grabs the viewer's attention, the artist's profound statements concerning social, environmental and corporate responsibilities become evident upon further contemplation.”       --Mary Forbes, Former Assistant Director, Art Car Museum

I have been working in clay for 45 years in the small town of Fayetteville, Texas. The slow pace of rural life has given me plenty of time to sort things out and plenty of reasons to use my art as a mode of expression as rural Texas is bombarded by constant change. Through my art I attempt to unveil my fears and desires. I show the fine line between THE seen and the unseen, humor and sadness, and right and wrong.

My narrative ceramic sculpture and tile work references political and social issues. My influences range from antiquity to popular culture. In these imagined scenarios, I depict myself as the protagonist or "the artist" taking action against racial injustice, political corruption and corporate greed. While I use humor to quickly grab the viewer's attention, the weighty statements concerning social, environmental and corporate responsibilities become evident upon further observation.

My work is labor-intensive and obsessively detailed. It is coiled or slab built. Combining my interest in drawing and clay, I have developed a style of working on ceramics with underglaze, underglaze pencils and pastels. Another exploration in techniques involves wax, underglaze and an etching tool and reflects my interest in printmaking. On my most recent work I have abandoned glazes and am using the ancient form of casein paint on clay.

Each project often consists of multiple works, often in a range of size; clay bodies; glazed or unglazed; and grouped around specific themes and meanings. I am constantly looking at art history. During that research and production new areas of interest arise and lead to the next body of work.                    

Making art clarifies beliefs and feelings-- whether a social, political statement or a personal one. The ritual of making the work in clay can bring me back from the brink of frustration to a balance in me, hopefully, producing a similar effect on the viewer. I feel I have made a successful piece when the viewer can make it their own story.

Artist Biography:

Pat Johnson is known for her sometimes disturbing but humorous figurative sculpture and tile murals, which take cues from a grab bag of influences ranging from antiquity to popular culture.  

A clay artist for more than 45 years, Johnson lives and works in the small rural town of Fayetteville, Texas. She was commissioned to produce tile murals for the College Station Public Library, Monument Hill State Park in La Grange, and the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Austin, as a Texas Commission for the Arts artist-in-residence she taught and produced murals in Longview, Waco and Austin. Pat also does works on paper and has designed t-shirts for Lyle Lovett. 

Featured in many one person and group shows in Texas and surrounding states: including exhibits at the Art Car Museum, Longview Museum of Fine Art, McNay Art Museum and Galveston Art Center. She was selected to participate in The 35th Annual Contemporary Craft Exhibition at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in Arizona and the 56th Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Art Center. Pat won “Best of Show” at the ClayHouston 2019 Regional Biennial Exhibition Timeless Clay: Future Artifacts juried by Jennifer Ling Datchuk.

Pat’s work was included in several of the 2013 NCECA conference exhibition in Houston and the Texas Craft 2014 Biennial at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. She has been accepted numerous times and placed 2nd in the Ceramic National Competition at the San Angelo Museum of Art. Her work is included in Lark Books publications, 500 Tiles and 500 Figures, Vol.2.