It’s not surprising that an area as majestically beautiful as Mendocino attracts a significant number of artists and craftspeople to locate their workshops and studios. Painter and sculptor Rebecca Johnson has chosen a large, renovated barn in Navarro, CA to be her main workspace and personal gallery. The barn overlooks an outdoor gallery of her large stone sculptures, which seem to be perfectly at home on the sloped and bumpy field.
The studio, located on Highway 128, is a must-see for Mendocino visitors – Forbes and New York Magazine have recently published articles with the same advice! The barn has been converted to house two large gallery spaces, a work space, and an outdoor sculpture gallery. Rebecca Johnson is often hard at work on site, and she welcomes visitors by appointment. It’s a perfect stop on the road to or from the Mendocino Coast, simply plan ahead by calling to confirm she’ll be in the studio on the day you plan to travel.
Rebecca Johnson is an incredibly accomplished artist – her background includes teaching college courses at Dartmouth, being featured in numerous shows in museums and galleries, receiving awards, and completing an impressive range of commissions throughout the world. Originally from a rural town in New Jersey, Rebecca followed her artistic journey to Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont and abroad to Wales before making Mendocino her permanent home.
In her artist statements on her website, Rebecca Johnson describes her deep connection with “the land,” and the evolution of natural materials such a stone, bronze, and sand. A material’s history guides her explorations of its qualities and potentials. Certainly, Mendocino serves as a vast source of encounters with such elements with its sandy beaches, rocky shores and caves, and historically protected land.
At times abstract, and at others representative, her sculptures direct the viewer’s attention to the beauty in the organic transformations that materials, such as stones and metals, experience as they withstand the ages. Rather than heavily manipulating materials to create a single statement, Rebecca Johnson invites her audience to seek meaning in the contrast between the elements and appreciate the grace in the balance she expresses using materials that are typically perceived as rugged and dense. Her hillside gallery of sculptures is an homage to the transitions which Time artfully inflicts upon Nature.
Rebecca Johnson also works with paint, creating stunning images and embedding them in layers of various stones, wood, metals and other natural materials to engender rich textures and dizzying dimensions. Her series of barn paintings is especially exciting – as it fuses vividly painted farmland scenes with expertly measured and placed pieces of reclaimed barn wood to celebrate the countryside’s scattering of lonely barns she so deeply appreciates.