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"We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets
"We must not begin to talk of the unreal world of these dreamers until we have discovered–if we can–a real world with which it may be compared." – Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism
"Withdrawn, solitary, entirely taken up with my small, hopeless but - to me - indispensable inquiries, that's how I live, but in so doing, I never lost sight of my people from a distance, often news of them reached me, and from time to time, I let them hear of my doings." –Franz Kafka, Investigations of a Dog
Bart Johnson's work has been an extended exploration of his own subconscious and its connection to the world around him.
While he received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he remains a self-taught artist, having no interest in the contemporary definitions of art, then or now. To begin with and to this day, he considers himself directly connected to the traditional art of the past, working by hand with simple materials.
His drawings arise out of a meditative trance state, which are part of a daily spiritual practice. Each begins with no preconceived notion and is a spontaneous capture of visual thought. The work is not made in an artist's studio, but created from life. Each working day, he selects a new environment to stimulate the memories, dreams and reflections that comprise a visual diary of psychic space.
Johnson's method is one of discovery, allowing him to bring a kaleidoscopic order to seeming-chaos. After all, as he has said "the artist is the person tasked by society to find and illuminate the reality that exists behind the world of form."
Johnson's practice has evolved through 40 years of working in and looking at the world around him. The critical element in each work is its handmade spontaneity; a harmonization of body, mind and spirit. His work stands as a direct rebellion against the prevailing monotony of sterile and commercially contrived art created solely for mass consumption.
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