Kath Johnston: Breathe in the Moment
Art is a powerful storytelling tool and Carlie Wacker takes some time out to soak up the energy and movement created by the works of our cover artist, Kathryn Johnston.
There is something soothing, a connection one feels when viewing the artworks by Kathryn Johnston. Her creations seem to have an energy that makes you want to breathe in the moment and pause. I feel like Kathryn Johnston is my soul sister. Like me, her early career was in the entertainment industry as a dancer, actress, voice-over artist and teacher of performing arts. It is perhaps the ‘on stage’ experience that translates to an emotional connection and movement in her art. In particular I look at her series of life studies and dancers and my heart skips a beat – I feel that passion in live performance in her pieces Relevé and Attitude Pirouette, I sense the exhaustion and pain in On The Rocks and At The End Of The Day. It is the ability to intrigue the viewer about the untold story that has us wanting more. Mystery – oh how it piques your interest! During her stage years Kathryn always dabbled in art.
“I would spend hours and hours experimenting with various mediums and it was in the early 1990s that I decided to create my first exhibition,” she says.
True to form, this first exhibition was held at the beloved Sydney Dance Company. Who says you can only be one type of artist? A career in computer graphics led Kathryn in another direction for some time and it was not until 2010 that she picked up the brush and dusted off the easel for another period of painting.
This time the artform proved therapeutic as she used art to help her through a difficult time caring for ageing parents. It was also during this period that she broke her arm in a bad fall and was told she may never lift that arm again.
“No way,” she retorted. “I am an artist and a dancer.”
Kathryn used her dance training and ‘Swan-Laked’ her way back to normal arm movement and with that came the deep realisation that painting was her
true desire and her tenacity and rigid dance training enabled her to overcome the greatest of setbacks.
The stage was now set for the next part of the show – relocating to an environment bursting with inspiration and energy – the Sunshine Coast
became her home.
“What an amazing place to be,” she
said. “The beach culture was a real joy.
“The zany ways the locals got around riding bikes while carrying a surfboard. Skateboarders flying along backwards in crazy bright colours… I was so tempted to do a series called Only In Queensland,” she recalls.
Well she did indeed capture many parts of the region in her Sunshine Coast Series, a breathtaking collection of paintings that show our true colours with river and beach scenes that invite you to walk their paths.
“I would spend hours and hours experimenting with various mediums and it was in the early 1990s that I decided to create my first exhibition”
Our cover is titled Coming Up and is from the Swimmers series. It speaks to rising above the challenges presented in life (and particularly in the year 2020). This collection of paintings has us gasping for air as we emerge refreshed, resilient and ready to SPLASH INTO SUMMER.
Take a moment to float away with Kathryn at www.kathrynjohnstonart.com