As a young girl, I dreamt of being an artist.
I was raised in a home that was full of creativity: my mother, a painter; my father, a potter and wood worker; my older sister, a writer. My desire to become an artist was effortlessly solidified. It was instinctive.
I dabbled in different mediums as I grew older, and my family was there to support me as I struggled to find my calling. They inspired me to keep learning and encouraged me to continue to explore.
I discovered my love for painting in 2007, while earning my bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. I took an introductory class, and my professor, Elaine Rutherford, inspired me to pursue the medium. The next four years of my life were spent working primarily with oils, playing with different techniques and harmonies of color to depict authentic, human emotion. I developed a passion for creating artwork that pauses time and captures the fundamental nature of observation and reflection.
Much of my work could be considered self-portraiture as it embodies the essence of self-contemplation. My current collection is based on perception and is revolved around the feminine figure and the conceptualization of identity. I believe that mirrors can hold a skewed representation of what is real. By reflecting on this concept, I strive to define the contrast between what we see of ourselves versus what others observe.
The gaze is an important element in my work, as it places the viewer in direct eye contact with the people portrayed in my paintings. This enables the viewer to look directly into the eyes of the person she is observing for however long she desires, which is something that rarely occurs in everyday life. The viewer is then given the unique opportunity to reflect on self-perception and better understand her relationship with the person that is staring back, whether it is herself or someone else.
I strive to empower individuals through my work by encouraging the viewer to contemplate her own interpretation of self-reflection and outer appearance and look at the world with her eyes open and eyes shut.
WORDS BY CHLOE BRIGGS JOHNSON
Chloe Briggs Johnson is from Elk River, Minnesota. She currently resides in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband, Alex Johnson, a professional photographer, and their cat, Martini. Chloe and Alex enjoy traveling to gain insight for future projects and spend much of their free time in the Northeast Arts District, gathering inspiration from the city’s local talent. The couple can be found frequently visiting the Rosalux Gallery, a collective of 20 local artists, or sipping drinks at a local brewery or coffee shop with friends. Visit Chloe’s website or Facebook to learn more about the artist and her work.