Collections

>   Cubist Bird
Composition with Three Women
12'' x 15.5''
Enamel on steel
1966

Beginning in the 1930s, Johnson’s influence from Cubism and Mexican muralists became the impetus for works like Cubist Bird, which reflect the combination of underlying geometric structure, a gestural, sweeping quality of the marks and the vibrant primary colors found in both genres. In this work, slices of geometric triangles and crescents interlock in the center of the composition with varying intensities of primary colors. From within this active palate and surface a bird ascends on the left side of the frame, extending its neck over to the center of a bright red circle, or sun-like form that descends from the center of the work. Although the forms are very linear and abstract, Johnson’s marks and textures on the surface of the steel give the work an earthy sensibility that references the aesthetic of Mexican murals.