March 26, 2015
On April 3rd there will be a gallery opening for Barbara Karant"s new series, 820 Ebony Jet at the Workspace Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska. I wanted to share with you some of these fabulous images and her notes on the background of her project. If you would like to see more images from this show and can't make it to the gallery, please visit barbarakarant.com.
This project documents the core essence of the Johnson Publishing Company's historic building in its semi-skeletal state before the final remnants of John Moutoussamy's architectural design, Arthur Elrod's interiors and the last vestiges of the original JPC communal workspace vanish.
820 South Michigan is about to morph into a new and different functionality when it transforms into the future repository for artistic content, a new library for Columbia College. The building contains bits and pieces of its long time occupant Johnson Publishing and still embodies the spirit of this landmark African-American company who occupied the building from 1972-2012.
The textures, colors, residual structures and remnants from the Johnson workplace all combine to create a unique, altered environment supplying the inspiration for the imagery. Outside of the influence of human intervention, time has been mark-making within The Johnson Building for over 40 years. Through serendipity and in concert with the individuals who occupied the space, gestures have been created by the movement of light over the surfaces revealing an expressive vocabulary which documents the passage of the decades. The absence of furniture and personal artifacts does not negate the reminder of its previous intensely vital occupancy, transcending both time and memory and providing a collective narrative of the past.