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Kelly Johnston's exhibition Ephemera explores themes of formative growth relating to how women's bodies develop and interact in their urban environments. 

Artist Statement

I explore identity by utilizing natural materials, employing their forms and textures. My practice is intuitive and draws on significant autobiographical experiences. Through the creation of sculpture and installation, I am able to reconcile my experiences and in turn engage viewers to reflect on their own personal histories. Significant life experiences, such as trauma or self revelation, create emotions that engender subjective, individual reactions and interpretations. Though these experiences and emotions are innately personal by nature and affect individuals on a private level, my work endeavors to address specific moments of discord—moments that embody emotional and interpersonal tension and evoke deeplyrooted, and at times primitive human emotions from my audience as a result. To achieve this, I select aesthetically simple, untreated materials and work on a large scale. This simplicity lends the materials unadulterated power. Mainly, I work with clay, wood, copper, silver, brass, plaster, fabric and pigment to create my pieces. I constantly challenge myself to explore new materials and the relationships they have with one another: feminine and
masculine, soft and harsh, light and dark, aggressive and peaceful. In my work, I address themes relating to internal and external dispositions within the physical environments of individual situations which I explore in my work. To achieve this, I often use cast human figures as a way to challenge my audience to think about their own relationship and association to the piece. Even everyday circumstances provide examples of the inherent tension between physical and emotional spaces. A distinct relationship exists between the two; our emotions construct the way we both experience and inhabit space, and vice versa. These tensions and differences are the moments I challenge myself to explore, internalize and reconstruct for my viewers in a way that engages a similar level of introspection. 


Kelly Johnston was born in Washington DC in 1991, and moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she currently lives and works. In 2015, Kelly graduated from Trinity University with a BA in
Anthropology and BA in Studio Art, and has exhibited nationally since 2010. Kelly’s work explores inherent tensions between emotional and physical discomfort by using natural materials on
large scales to create sculpture and installation, in hopes viewers connect and address issues in their own lives. Kelly’s use of the human form can be seen as a common theme throughout her work and over time transitioned to incorporating mixed media approaches in her work.

Earlier Event: August 13
Efficiency & Aesthetics