64 x 61 inches
Acrylic, oil, rust/canvas
signed and dated verso
Johnnie Winona Ross is inspired by the landscape of northern New Mexico, where he has lived and worked for the last twenty years.
At first glance his paintings and works on paper appear to be largely absent of color, but looking more closely the layers upon layers of subtle earthen colors reveal themselves, knocked back by opaque washes of white.
This interspersed layering of color, melding opacity and transparency, and building depth through repetition, are the integral elements of his work.
As artist and writer Kate Beck notes,
“This process of painting, scraping and repainting establishes a subliminal dynamic between counteractive elements – presence/absence, structure/freedom, resistance/release, richness/ austerity-that ultimately allows an elegant integration of romantic irony to permeate his surfaces. The viewer is quietly entranced by his purity of form, light and the suggestion of what lies beneath. This is the artist’s process, his hand.”
In 1999, following a long teaching career, he resigned his post as chair of the Art Department at The Maine College of Art in Portland, and moved to Taos. From his New Mexico studio he explores the vocabulary of minimalism and the complexity of rendering the experience of the high desert in pure abstraction.
He now exhibits regularly in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, and throughout Northern New Mexico. He has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including a Fulbright Artist in Residence and a Gottlieb Foundation Support Grant.
Among the many public collections holding work by Ross are the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; the Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do, Jeonbuk, Korea; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM; the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM; the University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM; the Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM; the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; and the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, NM.
Biographical sources: Tamarind Institute, Lannan