Friday, March 11, 2011

Pamela Michelle Johnson ~ Abundance

"It's the taste of America. It is what we eat. It is who we are. The insatiable American appetite is set on a path of consumption. Devouring to the point where we are left with nothing, nothing but the consequential garbage. Quintessentially American, junk food is not just part of our diet, it epitomizes our cultural ideals and social norms. Through my work, I strive to invoke reflection on a culture focused on mass-consumption and mass-production, where the negative aspects of overindulgence are often forgotten or ignored. The work questions a culture that equates fulfillment, pleasure and happiness with what we consume." ~ Pamela Michelle Johnson

I first became aware of the work of Pamela Michelle Johnson while reviewing entries for a juried exhibition. Johnson's work wasn't appropriate for that group show but I knew that I would eventually present her work in a solo exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. At that time, I sent her a note telling her how much I enjoyed the work and that I would be in contact.

After connecting a few times via e-mail, I stopped by Johnson's Wicker Park studio yesterday afternoon. I was looking forward to seeing the large-scale canvases and to finally meeting the artist in person. I was greeted by a charming smile—and after exchanging pleasantries—I was asked to take a seat in the living room while she acquired the large canvases from an adjoining storage area. Each time she reemerged, I was confronted with another amazing image. Much like exploring a Chuck Close painting, the imagery comes into crisp focus from a distance yet the loose application of oil paint is obvious upon close inspection. The gooey layers of decadence are intriguing.

"...Overbearing scale and gluttonous quantities, juxtaposed against foods that are both tempting and comforting, examine the conflict between enjoying the highly processed, artificially flavored bounty of American life and the progression to overindulgence and gluttonous excess. The work is both gross and enticing" ~ Pamela Michelle Johnson

The work of Pamela Michelle Johnson is appropriately scheduled to be presented at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art during the upcoming holiday season. Until then, You can find her work online at:

Above: Pamela Michelle Johnson, Ice Cream I, oil on canvas, 54"x34"

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes the only way to get a message across to someone, small circle, or a society is to speak their language. If the tone is correct and the mind is open impact happens, if not, it becomes a mute point.

    Maybe through art such as Pamela's we stand a chance of getting through the barriers of consumption. To realize less is enough. I feel it's ingrained so deeply that a "how to deprogram" is what's needed to tame the lust of over indulgence.

    It's still a choice that some will and some won't make. Only when the body shows rejection by getting sick will it be understood.