At the intersection of art and science, Alan Bur Johnson creates sculptures, installations and two-dimensional works that demonstrate his curiosity about an aesthetic of biology. Working with transparent photographic imagery and intricately cut metal forms, he breaks down images into visual fragments, which he then reassembles into massed murmurations that hint at possible narratives of what has happened and speculate about what may have been lost. These assemblages appear ethereal and weightless. Only their shadows speak to their materiality. Johnson’s subject is scientific research that he uses to investigate fleeting life cycles and physical impermanence.
As the artist has remarked, he possesses “an enduring interest in understanding not only how structures develop and function, but also what causes them to break down and how they become reassembled or assimilated into a new structure.” Johnson’s work underscores this abiding concern. For example, in one work he incorporates images of insect hives and wings with the brain scans of a friend stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. The dark lacework of these subjects is remarkably similar, a mysterious confluence of intertwining cells and fraying structures that the artist scatters in pieces against the wall.
Johnson holds a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Washington, Seattle. He has had solo shows in New York, Phoenix and Seattle and been part of group shows at the UNISA Space Gallery, Pretoria (South Africa), Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Art and the Phoenix Art Museum. He works and lives in the former ghost town of Jerome, Arizona.