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Featured Artists, Photographers & Designers
Dorothy Churchill-Johnson   Santa Barbara, CA
Early on I realized that my greatest strength as an artist was my drawing skills. As a result, I've always looked for ways to take hard-edge realism in new directions by combining it with more contemporary influences such as neo-pop, op art, and pattern painting, with a touch of surrealism. I've been working toward a synthesis of realism and abstraction by finding beauty in the tiny details of ordinary things and blowing them up to visual extremes.

Intricacies of surfaces - the mathematical patterns of plaid and houndstooth, cracks in the pavement, fragments of torn notices from sign posts, even the growth pattern of botanicals become abstractions of texture and design. The images point to the ephemeral nature of all human events, from weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement to the torn remnants of notices that were once timely. I call it instant archaeology in that one can extrapolate from the remnants, the presence and passage of life above. Aspects of the microcosm become metaphors for the macrocosm.

I sometimes like to play with mirror images to form a kaleidoscope. These, along with the Suits series have been described by a critic as "neo-pop abstraction." I emphasize the intersections where man and nature come together. Pavement and chain link symbolize the artificial barriers between us. Decaying leaves are juxtaposed with pods or blossoms to remind us of the ineluctable transitions we all face as organic beings. In the surreal landscape series the light is almost always transitional - either waxing or waning - and, for me, they evoke an alternative world of odd juxtapositions and the sense of being an isolated consciousness in a universe which is constantly changing and chillingly indifferent to individuals.

Beauty plays an important role because beauty is its own excuse for being, but the images emphasize the poignancy of its fleeting nature. There is a subtly bleak subtext of loneliness and global climate change implied, along with the question "Is the universe friendly and are we in harmony with it?" The paintings are meticulously rendered on a grand scale.
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