Peter Johnson is an Associate Professor of Art at Eastern Oregon Universitywhere he has been teaching for 8 years. Peter and his work have really come to the forefront in the past three years gaining exposure through residency opportunities and exhibitions. He recently completed summer residencies at the LH Project in Oregon and the Archie Bray Foundation. And, congratulations to Peter and his wife Sarah, best wishes for their new baby!
Peter’s commitment to his development as an artist has clearly paid off. He insists on the importance of applying regularly to opportunities and that deadlines are a useful tool to keep up a healthy work pace. I agree with Peter when it comes to making and when it comes living. That the most important thing is evolution and development. “Just trying to make better and better work.”
In his first 3 years of teaching Peter struggled to balance being both a practicing artist and an effective teacher. He says, “I sacrificed one to become successful at the other and recommitted several years ago to be successful at both aspects of my career.”
Peter’s affinity for clay comes from the material qualities of the medium as well as the conceptual implications that link to the content in the work. Clay is often studied and discovered in fragments and shards and this history and language feeds his interests in metal remnants and the passing of time.
Though Peter aims for industrial precision in rendering his forms, the translation through human hands ultimately results in a failure to reach that level of perfection. These moments, he says, are the most interesting to him; the moments of visual transformation. He uses Google SketchUp as drawing tool for 3d models then transulates them with a low-tech hand building technique.
Peter is interested in what happens when moving from a mathematical rendered model to the traditional handmade slab method. There is a failure in living up to an artificial notion of precision and perfection. This failure shows humaness. And and in humaness there is beauty.
Learn more about Peter and his work by visiting his website here.