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Press Release

Cris Worley Fine Arts is pleased to announce, Earthworks – West Texas a solo exhibition of new works by gallery artist Anna Elise Johnson. This is Johnson’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.

When the pandemic lockdown forced Johnson to vacate her Los Angeles studio, she embarked on a road trip to her parents’ home in Colorado. Along the way, Johnson began making paper rubbings of the desert floor. This simple action became a new body of work that marries the earth with the studio. 

To make these pieces, Johnson soaks canvas in plaster and matte medium, and lays it directly on the desert ground. She then layers it with dirt and debris found at the location and leaves it to cure in the sun. The canvas is folded and brought back to her studio, where it is unfolded and further layered with plaster and variety of materials such as ash, pastel, conté crayon, and watercolor paints – all of which contain mineral-based components. 

Johnson describes the process as striking “a balance between the recording of the unique character of a small piece of the world and partially obliterating or destroying it."

The 8 pieces in Earthworks - West Texas originated in Marfa, Texas. The title of each refers to the roadside location where they were made. The resulting works are records of the physical sites, layered with Johnson’s intuitive gestural responses based on her memories of the individual locations.

“This new body of work is truly born of necessity and is a testament to the artistic spirit that won’t stop even when outside circumstances make it very difficult,” says Worley. “Seeing Anna Elise take to the land for her material is both appropriate and heartwarming, given that many of us sought solace in nature during lockdown.”

Anna Elise Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA from the University of Chicago (2012) and a BFA from Washington University, St. Louis (2005). Johnson was a Core Fellow at the Glassell School of Art in Houston, TX from 2012-2014, and participated in the Tottenham Hale International Studio Residency Program in London in 2011. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Berlin, India, Slovenia, and Italy.

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