Tsehai Johnson

Tsehai Johnson, a Denver-based artist, was born in Ethiopia in 1966. Johnson received a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Reed College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work has been shown at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Biennale Internationale de Vallauris, White Columns (New York), and the World Ceramic Biennale (Icheon, Korea) and is in the collections of the Museum of Ceramics (New York), Museum of Outdoor Arts (Englewood, Colorado), and the Reyzjanesbaer Art Museum (Reyzjanesbaer, Iceland).  She is the recipient of a Colorado Council of the Arts Fellowship and residencies in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Iceland, and at Platteforum in Denver.  In 2013, Johnson completed an Art in Architecture Commission for the Byron Rogers Federal Building in Denver.

Johnson’s work explores the boundaries between public and private life.  Her performative events, mixed-media wall pieces, and installations reflect on the tension between order and function as expressed through the objects that populate our lives.  Driving this inquiry are several converging interests, from the clash between fantasy’s perfection and the messiness of reality, to the close juxtaposition of labor and pleasure in domestic space.  She employs dense ornamentation to explore quotidian realities of human existence and to comment on the blending of familiarity with a larger social function.

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