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YNEZ JOHNSTON (USA, California, Berkeley b. 1920 / act: Los Angeles)

Ynez Johnston Painter and printmaker Ynez Johnston was born in 1920 in Berkeley, California. She studied drafting, painting and printmaking at the University of California (-1946) with Worth Ryder, Erle Loran and Margaret Peterson. She moved to Los Angeles in 1951 to create and teach.

Ynez Johnston was fascinated by Chinatown of San Francisco and the Bay surrounding the hills of the city. The images of her travels combined into a collage of visual experiences. Her concerns are in the suspension of time relationships, in creating a drama which synthesizes an exotic metamorphosis of animals, foliage and structures. She creates intriguing fantasies in etchings and woodcuts, collage, paintings, wood and bronze sculptures. Johnston makes dramatic use of jewel-like colors and bold lines in her work in various media. She also embraces new techniques such as "plumbers' steel" to create incised paintings and relief prints. Her aesthetic vocabulary prods our memories and references romantic and mystic cultures. Throughout, she is guided by a modern sensitivity and suggests teeming cities, landscapes, gorgeous royal trappings and improbable vehicles in which we can travel through magical settings. Johnston's work is characterized by 'jigsaw' shapes reminiscent of primitive designs. Her unique style blends modernism and ancient art forms from her travels to Italy, Mexico, India and Nepal. She has also done 3-dimensional pieces in collaboration with her husband, poet and novelist John Ber.

Ynez Johnston presented the following personal exhibitions: Ynez Johnston, Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA (1954); Mitsukoshi Gallery, Tokyo (1976), Ericson Gallery, Manhattan, NY (1978); Ynez Johnston: An Overview: 1940s to 1990s, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (1998); Ynez Johnston: A Fifty Five Year Retrospective, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2003); The Magical Worlds of Ynez Johnston, Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA (2004). § She also took part in the following group exhibitions: California Modernism & Abstraction, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2000); Sculptors in Print, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2003); Twenty Fifth Anniversary, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2003); Holiday Highlights, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2003); Leonard Edmondson & Werner Drewes: Intaglio vs. Relief, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2004); Bright Lights and the Hollywood Hills: California Watercolors, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2005); California Gold, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2005); Ynez Johnston & Max Pollak: Etchings, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2005); The She Of It, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2007); Thirty Years of California Modernism, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2008).

Artworks by Ynez Johnston are kept at the following insitutions: The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens; Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art - MMCA, Thessaloniki; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; MIT - List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA; Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA.

[Megakles Rogakos 08/2008]

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