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Artist Julienne Johnson Recounts Her Recent Exhibition in Thailand!

Julienne Johnson - Touched # 11 2014 12x12
Julienne Johnson

Artist Julienne Johnson knows how to keep busy. An active art maker, she has also participated in several successful shows including: LA Artcore and Pico House in Los Angeles plus 2 out of State museum shows as well as exhibiting in Doha, Qatar at Anima Gallery.

Now she has just returned from an exhibition in Thailand and teaching at Thaksin and Naresuan Universities. She was recently hosted by the Museum Spedale degli Innocente in Florence regarding a site-specific solo show and lectured at Accademia D'Arte - AD'A and the American University. Johnson's work is in the permanent collections of 3 museums in and out of the USA, including the Arab American National Museum in Michigan. Her work is also in 2 permanent museum exhibitions.

Julienne Johnson talks about her about her recent Thailand trip this past February.

"My Thailand exhibition, was originally scheduled at a venue in Bangkok over a year ago, but was relocated to about 5 hours outside the city — Sonkhia Province, because of the demonstrations. The International Art x change, Thailand / USA 2014 exhibition included 16 artists from the USA curated by Lydia Takeshita of LA ARTCORE Gallery in Little Toyko, and coordinated and hosted by Dr. Kamol Tassananchalee, a National Artist and curator from Thailand. Being around Kamol for two weeks was like traveling with Wikipedia, so I returned having learned much. Seven additional Asian artists joined us there for the exhibition — five being Thai National Artists. What an honor, exhibiting and teaching with such accomplished art makers. I spent as much time as I could with them — sharing what our work was about. My concern is always humanity - which they seemed to find novel. During the teaching workshops their work tended to be more decorative, while "revolution" was coming out in mine. I could feel it in every fiber of my being, and working so viscerally with my hands—it was always there.

As guests of the government for two weeks, we were treated royally, while experiencing so much that tourists rarely would be privileged to experience. The king sent The Palace Dancers to perform at the opening of the exhibition, and if the political demonstrations had not continued, we would have had dinner, as scheduled, at the royal palace our last night in the country. Every night we were presented with delicious dinners, special entertainment and I was personally honored by being invited to sit with the consulate and dignitaries most evenings as well as represent the whole group of artists when we were presented with various awards on many occasions. They love formality in Thailand and they love giving gifts, we were all blessed to be a part of that.

We were shown the major sites of both Northern and Southern Thailand as we traveled to the universities and workshops where we were either teaching or honored in some way. We were flown to some locations and to others that you could not get to by plane, we were driven.....all the while being introduced to delicious fruits that I'd never tasted — like Jackfruit: love it! Couldn't get enough. Although, I could do without the squat toilets. On the whole trip, unmerited favor continued for me, from the 2 hour massage sent to my room by the office of the consulate, to being escorted to the university by the mayor's personal body guards when the hotel did not give me a wake-up call. When it happened a second time, I was picked up and escorted by the military - ordered by dignitaries. Can you imagine? Besides the exhibition, I taught workshops at both Thaksin and Naresuan Universities in Southern Thailand — a highlight of the trip. I love to work with college kids; and being a life time student myself, it's a comfortable situation. Not to mention that the Thai people in general are very gentle and welcoming.

The reaction to my TOUCHED # 11, assemblage installation piece was really exciting and they had numerous questions about my assemblage sculpture. I must have signed over 400 autographs, although I have no idea what people will do with them. I decided to only take 40, 12" x 12" artworks of the 56-canvas installation piece, which incorporates 15,000 surgeons gloves in full. The reaction of both students and faculty was especially encouraging for me. Then when they watched the video that I had made and used (as a teaching tool) for workshops that I taught at two universities - they were able to see the installation in full with it's numerous possibilities.

The workshops were held at Thaksin University in Songkhla Province and and Naresuan University in Thesaban Mueang. Besides the color attraction, I believe the work got so much attention because they could not figure out what they were looking at and what it was composed of. Not one person even suggested that I may have used surgeons gloves. The work brought up a lot of questions; even more so after they watched the video. The installation the 11th piece of my TOUCHED series (named by Peter Frank - Art Critic, Huffington Post, Fabrik Magazine, Associate Editor) after the release of the TOUCHED book last September. Although the whole series is a part of the TOUCHMETOUCHYOU collection that I've been working on since 2012
about connection and communication —particularly social media. Besides the installation, I had an assemblage sculpture in the show: something that looked like it was about to topple over any minute: made of wood and metal and covered with a mix of media, collage and pigment transfers. So the kids were fascinated with that as well. And I noticed that they made sure both pieces were in all the photos when they were taking pictures with me. The whole deal was something I shall never forget. I am so happy that I've been invited back in 2016 so I can see all my new friends....and have some more Jackfruit."

Johnson’s work will be part of “Spectrum-Gestalt” opening this Saturday, March 22nd from 6pm-10pm at bG Gallery (space G8A) at Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, 90404. (310) 906 4211;

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