Aqueduct (After Rube Goldberg)
This painting is modeled after a Rube Goldberg machine—a contraption designed to instigate an absurdly convoluted chain reaction for the sole purpose of completing a simple task in the most roundabout way. In this work, water falling from the sky must pass through a variety of obstacles before it reaches the watering can and, ultimately, the wildflowers. Cheesecloth is used to build up the surface texture of the composition, giving the water a fluid and transparent quality.
Robinson’s paintings turn foundational power structures on their head through the use of humor, absurdity and irony. The artist's compositions undermine prevailing ideas about anthropocentrism, or the belief that human beings are the center of the universe—an idea proliferated by Western painting and especially works in the art historical canon. Robinson's paintings frequently depict forest-like settings where human-made structures such as towers are fantastically constructed out of women, animals and inanimate objects. At times, the compositions resemble the characters in "Town Musicians of Bremen"—a popular German fairy tale in which aging domestic animals run away from their overbearing masters.
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Johanna Robinson’s paintings employ humor, absurdity and irony to undermine anthropocentrism—or the belief in the centrality of human beings and their experience, an idea proliferated by the Western art canon. The artist’s work, connected to a long lineage of women surrealist and symbolist painters, relies on imagination as a source for truth-seeking and world-building. Robinson’s compositions turn foundational power structures on their head, resembling popular fairy tales where animals escape their overbearing masters.