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Saint Xavier University hosts exhibit by Robert J. Johnson

Local artist will display his work on contemporary icons

Chicago (Dec. 12, 2005) –Saint Xavier University’s art gallery will host a new exhibit beginning Jan. 9. The work of Robert J. Johnson, retired director of the Bureau of Art at Chicago Public Schools, will be displayed. In addition, an artist’s lecture and opening reception will be held in the gallery on Jan. 18 at 3:30 p.m.

The exhibit, titled Contemporary Icons: Absorbing a Life of Images, will feature wood, gold leaf and encaustic, a paint consisting of pigment mixed with beeswax and fixed with heat, sculptures. Johnson’s pieces offer contemporary adaptations on the traditional medieval altarpiece and Renaissance triptych, which consists of three painted or carved panels that are hinged together.

Johnson, who taught art in Chicago Public Schools for more than 25 years, draws much of his inspiration for icons from the Catholic Church. “My interest in icons goes back to the experiences I had as an elementary and high school student in Catholic schools. I was intrigued by the imagery I saw in the Church. The buildings, sculpture, paintings, chalices and religious objects, had a great emotional impact on my artistic development.”

His iconic pieces, however, are not all strictly religious. “My latest series features contemporary icons that represent what we worship today. We worship food, money, cars, clothes and, of course, power.”

Johnson has been developing and displaying his artwork in the Midwest for several years. He has recently been featured in exhibits at the Vietnam Museum, the Loyola University Crown Center Gallery, the Northwestern University Settlement House, Cliff Dwellers and the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago.

The exhibit will run through Jan. 31. Both the exhibit and the artist’s opening reception are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the art department at (773) 298-3081.

The art gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

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Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

Saint Xavier University Media Relations: 773-298-3325
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