Butt Johnson’s first solo show at CRG Gallery, The Name of the Rose, opens January 14 and runs through February 19, 2011. The show will feature drawings that fuse the idioms of old master drawings and engravings with a subject matter both contemporary and allegorical. In employing the visual language of engravings writ in the modern medium of ballpoint pen, Johnson generates a hybrid form of imagery, allowing the drawings to function as present-day artifacts from a bygone era.
The title of the show references Umberto Eco’s 1983 novel of the same name, and like Eco’s story of monks struggling through a semiotically enhanced medieval world, Johnson’s drawings can be looked at as a visual onion from which layers of associations can be peeled, deconstructed, and examined.
The Name of the Rose
Each drawing in the show, some of which have taken as long as two years to complete, functions as a kind of treatise, exploring a diverse range of overarching themes from love to war to cartography to architecture, and pointing to the history of learning and knowledge as it is processed through American popular culture in the age of video games and the Internet.
Here are some other drawings by Johnson…