Martha Ensign Johnson
Born and raised in the southeastern United States in a home surrounded by artists, Martha Ensign Johnson began a focus in printmaking in 1972. With training in Florence, Italy she has had a gallery career since then that has always included galleries in her native North Carolina as well as some overseas, currently in Norway. She has had exhibitions across the United States, in Stavanger, Norway, and at the Galleri Norske Grafikere (National Gallery of Printmaking)in Oslo, Norway. Her work is in private and corporate collections, such as Phillip Morris Company's Permanent Collection, Tippecanoe Courthouse, Indiana, the city of Kristiansand, Norway, and Westmont College Permanent Collection. She has taught at Northwestern College, Minnesota and Westmont College, as well as workshops in Michigan, Minnesota and in Kristiansand, Norway.
This recent work explores the aftermath of the Tea and Jesusita fires that swept through the area that I walk daily. I have collected seed pods, dehydrated plant forms, and other natural materials that resulted from those fires, and used them as inspiration for this series, as I have watched nature restore itself after the devastation. Slabs of wood from a tree felled by the Tea fire have been used for the woodcuts.
BA Fine Art University of Santa Barbara 2001
College of Creative Studies Program in Oil Painting
From my earliest memories art has been part of my identity. Art is how I express myself, how I relate to the world around me, how I have fun, and how I give to those I care about. Teaching art to young students is one of my great joys because something this good is only better when you share it. This collection is of my favorite spots along the California coast, reflecting upon its style, color and changing light. I have been recently been drawn to empty scenes that tell a story of something passing, reflecting on impermanence.
A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, Michele studied painting privately with Jack Lynwood, Tom Wudl, Harry Carmean, Lorser Feitelson, and Leo Carrillo. Her art is found in private collections internationally. She has remain an active member of Southern California Artists Painting for the Environment (S.C.A.P.E.) and the Santa Barbara Art Association, as well as others and has received numerous awards for her paintings.
My paintings are the beginning of a storya setting that is somewhat recognizable and familiar, but leaves room for the story to be discovered by the viewer. Whether it feels magical and beautiful, or oppressive and ominous, is up to the viewer. The plan is to take the observer to a contemplative place; a place that is part memory and part imagination.