Christmas Performance to Honor Covenant Artist’s Work

Post a Comment » Written on December 4th, 2009     
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ST. PAUL, MN (December 4, 2009) – Northwestern College will honor Covenanter Martha Johnson for the commissioned visual arts she has contributed for 15 years to the school’s “Christmas at Northwestern” program.

Johnson has been designing the program cover for the annual event since 1995. A complete retrospective of her art will be highlighted during the three performances this weekend. The accompanying illustrations come from past programs covers.

Cover oneJohnson, who was a member of the school’s faculty from 1997-2004, now teaches at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. She is married to Don Johnson, pastor of Montecito Covenant Church.

“Much more than art for its own sake, Martha’s works flow from a life as an artist for Christ’s sake,” writes Timothy Sawyer in the current issue of the school’s magazine, Pilot. The professor of music and director of choral activities adds, “Her work radiates her clearly Christian worldview and resonates deep biblical truth in visual images which often speak of something deeper than can be seen on the page.”

Sawyer praises Johnson’s imagination and ingenuity. “That first year, not only did Martha create an exquisite Italian Renaissance angel, she also crafted two 10-foot paper angels constructed from handmade paper made in her garage, using a blender (to mix the pulp) and a hair dryer. Those angels flew on each side of the stage in Maranatha Hall, a spectacular one-of-a-kind creation – long gone, but vividly remembered.”

Cover twoJohnson’s expertise is etching on various metals and printmaking, but she also is comfortable in widely varied media including colored pencil, watercolor, woodcut, collagraph (a special form of printmaking), and prints superimposed on vividly colored hand-dyed silk, quilted and hand stitched. Her works are on display publicly across the country.

Sawyer adds, “they are remarkable not only for their attention to detail, but also for intimate meanings often embedded within and even hidden inside them.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Johnson studied in Florence, Italy, at the Santa Reparata Graphic Art Center. In more recent years, she has also done summer sabbatical research in France. Currently residing in Montecito, Martha is a member of the art faculty at Westmont College.

A sampling of her works and complete information about her art and career can be found at her website.

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