Join us for an Artists’ Talk and Closing Reception with Indira Freitas Johnson and Garland Martin Taylor, moderated by Lise McKean, in conjunction with the exhibition “Indira Freitas Johnson and Garland Martin Taylor: Gathering,” guest curated by Joanne Aono.
The Riverside Arts Center Freeark Gallery and Sculpture Garden is pleased to present Gathering, a two-person exhibition of sculpture and installations by Indira Freitas Johnson and Garland Martin Taylor.
Both artists address societal issues through their mixed media sculptures and community involved projects. Gun violence, racism, immigration, and individual rights are among the topics conveyed in their assemblages, as they seek to heal and invoke dialogue. Influenced by her artist father, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, and her social activist mother, Johnson creates forms reflecting non-violence from found objects and castings. Taylor channels his research of Henry Jackson Lewis, the first African American political cartoonist, as he welds bronze and stainless steel pieces with found materials such as skateboard parts, kinky hair, wood, stone, and pheasant feathers into 3-dimensional statements.
Johnson’s sculptures of hands and feet convey a calm spirituality in our main gallery space along with an interactive grid prompting the viewer to consider how we label ourselves. She will have an installation in the Freeark Sculpture Garden, combining pieces from her Ten Thousand Ripples project with a site-specific new construction questioning our inability to live harmoniously. Taylor will be exhibiting his iconic Conversation Peace and a recent related sculpture in the main gallery. Our rear gallery room will consist of an array of Taylor’s newest sculptures in an immersive installation of art and other items from his Southside studio.
Indira Freitas Johnson
Indira Freitas Johnson is a sculptor, cultural worker, peace activist and educator. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Mumbai and the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art with a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She founded Shanti Foundation for Peace, later merging with Changing Worlds, to teach art and nonviolence decision-making skills to Chicago area public school children. Johnson created one hundred emerging Buddha sculptures as part of the Ten Thousand Ripples, Public Art, Peace and Civic Engagement initiative. This citywide project is a collaboration with Changing Worlds, the lead arts organization, and over thirty-five Chicago area cultural, educational, and community organizations.
Johnson’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is represented in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; City of Evanston; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island; Haeinsa Temple, South Korea; Chicago Transit Authority; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; State of Illinois Building, Chicago; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the prestigious Illinois Governor’s Award for the Arts, Arts Midwest NEA, and Arts International Travelling Fellowship, and was named the 2013 Chicagoan of the Year. Artist’s website: www.indirajohnson.com
Garland Martin Taylor
Garland Martin Taylor is a sculptor, researcher, lecturer, and educator with a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His scholarly studies of the first African American political cartoonist, Henry Jackson Lewis, have been honored with several grants and speaking engagements throughout the country. He has been awarded a Crystal Bridges Research Fellowship in the History of African American Art at Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas and a Mellon Collaborative Fellowship in Arts Practice & Scholarship at the Richard & Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago.
Taylor’s art has been exhibited throughout the country including Artemis Gallery, Northeast Harbor, Maine; Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana, while his Conversation Peace has traveled 5,000 miles with the artist across the United States. He has exhibited extensively in the Chicago area including the Southside Community Art Center, the Museum of Science and Industry, Hyde Park Art Center, Weinberg Newton Gallery, Ignition Project Space, and the African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Taylor’s sculpture can be found in numerous private and public collections. His art has been reviewed in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, The Charleston South Carolina Chronicle, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and on WBEZ and WGN radio stations. Artist’s website: www.garlandmartintaylor.com
Guest curator Bio:
Joanne Aono’s drawings, paintings, and installations have been exhibited at museums, galleries, art centers, and alternative spaces. Her art has been awarded and reviewed by numerous venues and publications. She serves on the Riverside Arts Center’s exhibition committee and runs the alternative art exhibition project, Cultivator, from her farm and studio in rural Illinois. Artist’s website: www.JoanneAono.com
Artist’s Talk Moderator Bio:
Lise McKean is a social anthropologist, writer,and editor. Her research and writing range from contemporary art to religion and politics in India to social justice. She’s a regular contributor to Bad at Sports and writes essays for exhibition catalogs. Her alma maters include University of Chicago, University of Hawai’i, and Sydney University, where she completed her Ph.D.