Shannon Johnston
Inevitably a strain on allFor sunlight after shadowsHalf butter, half shortningUnfruitful charmsKeep the fighting arm free
My work looks through a decidedly female lens at patterns of domestic, social and behavioral expectation and ponders how these labels can interfere with the construct of the individual. Within my visual language, patterns from traditionally decorative and domestic textiles such as wallpaper and plate-ware emerge as symbols of a gendered social norm. The use of these patterns and the physical, repetitive act of layering within the paintings reveals an allegorical understanding and attention to the surface.

The gendered and domestic role of women remains pervasive even within this age of equality and brings to question the lineage of women both from previous generations as well as future. These patterns, whether cultural, familial, perceived or self created, often deal with the appearance and actions of individual. This is reflected in my work through decorative surface and a build up of layers. Individuality is suppressed so that the expected appearance is achieved. This concealing and revealing of individuality is a process that continues through out life. This ambiguity creates a sublime moment of simple existence without exact knowledge or resolution. The surface of the work emerges as decorative, at times suppressed by or revealed by the patterns. The process of repetition is central to my work and for me parallels the build up of experiences that unveil this social tendency toward pre-prescribed expectations and norms.