Dream vs. Reality

I employ a wide range of techniques and processes to develop both two- and three-dimensional work. My work easily blends traditional techniques with digital workflow and industrial materials. Throughout the work, my theme has remained consistent: the dislocation between dream and reality in America. The notion that this country offers both but gives you neither.

The paintings are layered with cultural references along with folklore, mysticism, human struggle and the environment. They usually begin with a notion, but gradually change as they develop based on my thoughts in the moment. I like to incorporate repeating symbols in the work in the form of print, vinyl or stenciled patterns.

I make use of various materials in my paintings to achieve a variety of surfaces. Everything from drawing, hand-printed and layered images become different strokes of the brush. Frosted mylar is my surface of choice to push and pull layers from both the back and the front of the painting.

Nighttime is about the human presence in nature. Ghosts in the pine and ignorance towards the environment. Figures all hiding behind paper bags with their hands up in the air. We are in the nighttime of the world's existence.

The idea of this painting started off with a quote in reference to our abuse of the environment, from Hocus Pocus, a novel by Kurt Vonnegut that goes, "we have the misfortune of knowing what's really going on . . . And this has given rise to a whole new class of preening, narcissistic quacks who say in the service of rich and shameless polluters that the state of the atmosphere and the water and the topsoil on which all life depends is as debatable as how many angels can dance on the fuzz of a tennis ball."

Since 2001, I have been suffering from the invisible, but chronic and sometimes debilitating disease of ulcerative colitis. Sculpture became a means for me to handle the realities of living with this disease and the overinflated cost of medical care in the U.S. I make use of the endless bills and medical detritus the hospitals provide me to make assemblage sculptures about the subject.

Debt Collection consists of my own medical bills from 2020 till present day. As I receive another bill (about once a month) I add it to the stack on a giant syringe in the same way a waitress once added receipts to a nail on a block. The only difference is that most of these bills are not paid. The rising cost for care that I owe the hospitals is in the form of moveable type displayed on the front of the pedestal which is changed each month to reflect the current amount.

Jeremiah Johnson was raised on a fruit and flower farm in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art of Temple University and MFA in print, paper and book arts from Syracuse University. Johnson's work is in several public and private collections including the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg; the Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; and the Servais Family Collection, Brussels, Belgium. Johnson makes art in the studio he shares with his wife, visual artist Duyen Nguyen in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He is also the director of a makerspace at Nicholls State University.