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At the Bottom of Everything
Eric Johnson

On Exhibit
September 6 - October 6, 2012

Opening Reception
Thursday, September 13, 2012
5:00 - 7:00 PM
Admission: Free/Open to the Public

Moon Over Monday
Relief Print
31" x 20.25"

Tree #8
Relief Print
15.5" x 12"

Tree #24
Relief Print
13" x 8.25"

Unidentified with Print
Relief Print
24" x 18"

Unknown Street
Relief Print
24" x 18"

About the Exhibit
Eric Johnson is a North Dakota native with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Printmaking. Most of the art in the exhibit revolves around cityscapes and trees and shows off his unique printmaking style. The exhibition features 58 of his prints made in the past 12 years. The show is a MAGDA (Museum & Art Gallery Directors Association) touring exhibition that is currently traveling through North Dakota and Montana.

Johnson uses "both the city and the tree to represent the anxiety, as well as other emotions, associated with life changes and events common to everyone, such as birth, death, relationships, and disease".  Eric says, "When I am printing I often spend hours thinking about life, listening to music, and pondering reality."

Johnson uses a style known as the reductive method to create his dimensional looking prints. His technique can be traced to Pablo Picasso, who invented it in the 1950s. In the reductive method of printmaking, the artist starts with a block of wood with an image carved into it. The image is colored and then it is printed onto the desired medium. After the first color is printed, the area of the print that is supposed to stay that color is then cut from the block. The remainder of the block is used to print the next desired color. The process is repeated, reducing the block each time, until the desired image is finished.

Unlike the reductive method, most printmakers use several different blocks of the same image, putting one color on each different block. Several blocks are used to create the total image, versus just one block with the reductive method.

“What I do is a lengthy process. It takes hours upon hours for me to complete a print. I don’t send designs off to someone else to be printed—these are hands-on, hand-pulled prints, said Johnson. I really think growing up on a farm has given me a great appreciation for hard work.  I enjoy the process of making them as much as the end product.  Each print I make is important to me, and the reason they are so important to me is simply this: they are a representation of me.”

Eric believes that his colors are what sets him apart from other printmakers. He often has people mistake his prints for paintings because of the multi-layered colors. “I’m not sure some printmakers appreciate my use of the medium. I’ve had some comments from well established printmakers that say my colors are too bright and that I use too much ink, but I’m not looking to fit into anyone’s boundaries or expectations of the medium”.

Johnson has found his passion with Printmaking and in particular with the reduction process.  His carvings of layered tapestries and interwoven lines manifest as expressive trees and swaying buildings that glow and vibrate in their brilliantly hued -landscapes.

The youngest of six children, Eric A. Johnson was raised on a farm near Embden, North Dakota.  He graduated from Chaffee High School in 1991 with a class of eight students.  Taking an introductory art class at North Dakota State University sparked an interest in art he had always had. Johnson dove in, taking all the art classes he could.  After several years of study Eric decided to focus on sculpture, but ultimately found that printmaking was his true passion.  After graduating from NDSU in 1997, he began his studies at the University of North Dakota’s Master of Fine Arts program.  During his studies at UND he began his ongoing series of Cityscapes, inspired by recollections of his first visits to Chicago and New York City.  

Currently, Johnson is an adjunct instructor of art at Minnesota State Community and Technical College and North Dakota State University, a board member of the FMVA (Fargo-Moorhead Visual Artists), and coordinator for the Visual Arts program for the North Dakota Governor’s School.  He also continues his involvement with P.E.A.R.S, having recently served as Master Printer through the program for editions by Canadian painter Ken Dalgarno and artist Star Wallowing Bull.

Visit Eric's website:

Sponsored in part by

The Towne Printer



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