Johnson spoons
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Date: Tue 09/07/21 12:00AM - Sat 12/18/21 12:00AM
Location: Mulvane Conference Room

In this exhibition, Brad Sneed and Stephen T. Johnson give us art with the purpose of “picturing a text.”  Both have illustrated many books for children, helping that audience to experience, as Johnson writes, “the wonderment and pleasure that children have when they see the world differently.”  The joy in these works extends to every audience.  After all, we begin our literacy with the alphabet, the letters that build words, then sentences, then story and thought. These artists—both have created alphabet books—begin with text. Each reads closely, each is inspired toward art by language: what words say and what they suggest. When we read and write, we sequence letters and words, hoping to reflect our thoughts and feelings. When artists “picture” a text, their discoveries, translated into visual image, allow us to move beyond this sequence of words into a more complete experience of the text. And, to our delight, we see the world differently. 

Stephen T.  Johnson’s  visually arresting and conceptually rich body of work forges connection between objects and ideas. Johnson’s artwork can be found in permanent and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He is a professor at the University of Kansas. Johnson’s award-winning publication Alphabet City is a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.

Illustrator Brad Sneed was raised on a farm in Newton, Kansas. He studied art at the University of Kansas and is the illustrator of many children’s books. He is the author and illustrator of Picture A Letter, 2002. Sneed now lives in Prairie Village, KS. He does artist lectures in elementary schools around the country.

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