Tierra del Sol Gallery presents Kyle Johnson: Working Man’s Hands | May 6 – July 1, 2023

 In artists, artists with disabilities, Blog, Careers in the Arts, Workforce Development
Kyle Johnson, This Process of Life, 2023, acrylic on paper, 18 x 24”

Tierra del Sol Gallery is pleased to announce Kyle Johnson: Working Man’s Hands, the artist’s debut solo exhibition. Working Man’s Hands features paintings, textiles, drawings, and poetry that Johnson uses to tell his story as well as offer uplifting encouragement to those enduring difficult times. His visual and written language both challenge and affirm his identity and experiences as a disabled Black man.

Johnson’s landscapes exude a feeling similar to those of Kerry James Marshall in that the people depicted in them act as signifiers of narratives that arc across time and geographies. Both artists use color and form to site the natural world resonant with Black life. Johnson says “I want the world to be cool. So, I have created a space that brings me closer to the environment I want to live in.”

Johnson thinks of his mind as a television set on repeat. His expansive imagination links his art and poetry to a greater totality where water, earth, and the cosmos comprise the rhythm he uses to create a powerful visual dance—even as he is bound to his wheelchair. He employs roadways through nature as pathways to ideas, strengthening his connection both to nature and himself. Sharing these experiences reminds him and viewers that he survived his childhood accident, and that through art, he can communicate his hopes, fears, dreams, realities, and futures, infusing each work with the love and celebration he yearns to see in the world.

This encompassing visionary practice is akin to the vibrational experience of Rodney McMillian’s draped landscapes. Both artists pull from discomfort to get to where they are going, offering the viewer a path to worlds made richer through color, texture and poetics. Wrought with constant motion, works such as these recall the shifting tides and rotation of the earth, cultivating a cosmic perspective of grand proportions to sustain this movement.

Kyle Johnson, Views, 2023, acrylic on paper, 18 x 12”

Johnson admits that his landscapes are a portal through which he can process his fear of encountering the unforeseen. His work engenders in him an optimism that he generously shares with his audience. Working Man’s Hands brings that complex dance of difficulty and joy to the Tierra del Sol community in an effort to expand Johnson’s safe spaces to the foundation’s Chinatown setting.

The exhibition opens with a celebration on May 6 from 6-9pm and is on view through July 1, 2023.

In addition to the opening reception, Working Man’s Hands includes two special events: an Evening of Poetry on June 3, 4-5:30pm and an artist talk with Kyle Johnson and jill moniz on June 24, 4-5:30pm.

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