Central Library, Grand Lobby
A group of poem-pictures on and about Brooklyn everyday life, ‘Brooklyn Elements’ is inspired by its language and constructed from objects found on its streets — from the mundane to the provocative. Johansen’s work incorporates a range of visual elements and textures, from wood, fabric and paint, to her own jarring street poems.
There are four works displayed in the exhibition, each with its own poem. One is a montage using geometric shapes of wood bolted together, overlaid with a child’s shirt and a painted pattern of army fatigue camouflage, along with the poem:
"The smack hit the back of a young boys head The motion practiced, the impact accurate. Her Hands hammer him forging blunt steel. Black, white and red camouflage."
Another work is a montage of close-up color photographs of beauty parlor mannequins with their synthetic hair and brightly colored eyeshadow, with the poem:
"Going home from the beauty parlor, head held high. Each strand scissored styled, sprayed Horsetail brown Retriever beige
The two other works in this diverse sampling of street life include a photo montage of a sculpture with cavernous, porous shapes, and a painted and ‘poemed’ canvas stretched trampoline-style with nylon wire over a frame of shaped conduit, a flexible steel tubing. An original poem is integrated into each work.
"I love that I can explore the waterfront and streets of Red Hook where I live and bring the synthesis of what I see to those who visit Brooklyn Public Library." says Johansen. "Here, I can draw everyone who comes in into my street life with provocative words and images.’
Johansen works in many media such as painting, drawing, sculpture, installations, photography and performance. Much like a musician playing different instruments, she finds that having a large register of techniques enriches and broadens her ideas and expressions.
She has had solo exhibitions at Galleri Pictura, Lund, Sweden; Ni Muser, Trondhjem Kunstforening, Norway; Galleri Nebb, Oslo, Norway; Soho20, New York; and Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, New York.
About the Artist
Artist Tone Johansen grew up on an island in Norway. After studying art in her homeland, she won a grant to stay as a guest artist at The International Studio Program at PS1 in Long Island City, and found her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. "Since I am here from Norway, the language, the words that I use are tools I work with just like the objects I find in the street," says Johansen. "I love their grittiness."
This exhibition is organized for Brooklyn Public Library by Kentler International Drawing Space. Lobby Gallery exhibitions are supported by a grant from The Greenwall Foundation.