JOHANNA GORMONG - A PERCEPTION OF COLOR

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Tell us a little about yourself! 

JG: I grew up in Terre Haute Indiana, graduated from Terre Haute South High school and am working toward receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree at Indiana Wesleyan University.

What drew you to pursue a career in the arts?

JG: My journey toward pursuing a career in the arts has been long. I started out college pre-declared then declared art therapy at the end of my freshman year, but then switched again the second semester of my junior year to the bachelor of arts degree with a concentration in painting. I decided to switch to the bachelor of arts degree because I knew that deep down I wanted to primarily focus on painting and that eventually I wanted to teach at the college level. I think that it is important for there to be female college studio arts professors and that was something I lacked in undergrad.

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Tell us about the creation of A Perception of Color. What led you to create it? Did you discover anything surprising?

JG: A Perception of Color is a body of work that is still causing me to ask questions as to why I am making it. The body of work began with a painting that I did on my contemporary painting class the first semester of my senior year. This assignment was pretty much boundless. I could create what I wanted, which was something that hadn’t happen much previously. This painting titled Permanent Rose in the show is a painting based around a still life I set up with objects I found beautiful and intriguing. Permanent Rose inspired me to create the rest of the show by using the same process. However as A Perception of Color slowly took form from one painting to the next I began to ask myself why I am drawn to these objects and materials. I began to explore the meanings behind the decisions that I thought were intuitive ones and found that they had deep connections to my experiences and who I am. These paintings became a way for me to show parts of myself through a visual experience.

What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?

JG: The hardest thing for me about the creative process is finding a healthy relationship between myself in my work, in that the success or failure of my work does not define who I am as an artist or why I make work.

How has your work/approach evolved over time?

JG: The approach to which I create work has evolved that most over this year in particular with this show. Before A Perception of Color I began a piece by thinking about what I wanted to communicate to the viewer. It was all about the idea and how to execute that idea. This body of work’s process was completely different. I started to make the work without having a clear reason as to why I was making the work other than the fact that I felt like it needed to be made.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

JG: After graduation I plan on building my portfolio for a couple years and then apply to MFA programs and eventually becoming a college professor.

 
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...you never know what body of work is hidden underneath the five-minute sketch...
 
...the success or failure of my work does not define who I am as an artist or why I make work.

What advice would you give to other students?

JG: I would highly encourage students to make time to create personal work. I know how busy college classes can be, but it is crucial to make art for you. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or even good it could just be filling a sketchbook with ideas, but you never know what body of work is hidden underneath the five-minute sketch you did of an idea that popped into your head before bed.

 
 
 

Johanna Gormong is a senior at IWU studying Studio Art and Psychology. Her work explores illusory qualities of color alongside representations of the human form.