Combined exhibit examines religious imagery using modern approaches

Exhibit: “Saints and Scarabs” & “Conflict” by Justin Johnson and “Revelation Images” by Martha Yoder
Dates: Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 – Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017
Reception: Sunday, Nov. 13, 2 – 3:30 p.m., followed by an artist talk
Location: Music Center’s Hershberger Art Gallery
Cost: Free and open to the public

"Map of the Churches: Sardis" by Martha Yoder
“Map of the Churches: Sardis” by Martha Yoder

Two artists, Martha Yoder and Justin Johnson, will present a joint exhibit , titled “Revelation Images,” “Saints and Scarabs” and “Conflict” respectively, with a public reception on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m., followed by an artist talk, in the Music Center’s Hershberger Art Gallery. The exhibit will be open through Jan. 15, 2017.

Martha Yoder

Martha Yoder
Martha Yoder

For 20 years, Martha Yoder has been visualizing concepts from the book of Revelation. Inspired by a study given by Nelson Kraybill, president emeritus of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and currently president of Mennonite World Conference, Yoder began creating augmented maps, wall pieces and weavings that draw from the book of Revelation.

“My eyes have been opened as I have studied Revelation,” Yoder writes in her artist statement. “I have come to realize that there is very little that is new in this odd book. It has sometimes felt in my experience like it dangles precariously alone as the last book of the New Testament and it wouldn’t much matter if it would just fall away.”

Originally from Aberdeen, Idaho, Yoder graduated from Bethel College in Kansas in 1968, and after spending several years in Laos with her husband, Darvin, they returned to his home state of Iowa. There she earned her MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa in 1990. Yoder worked for 22 years at the University of Iowa Museum of Art and in the registrar’s office. In 2008, she became associate pastor at West Union Mennonite Church in Parnell, Iowa, where she served until her retirement in 2015.

Justin Johnson
Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson, gallery director for the University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts in Fort Wayne, Indiana, creates contemporary iconography based on spiritual, historical, and classical archetypes, using a mix of graphite drawings or archival pigment prints covered with glass and gilded, often incorporating found objects into the composition.

By adding gold to the glass surface, he complements the drawing surface while also referencing historical works such as Byzantine icons, illuminated manuscripts and gold ground panel paintings. The use of the human figure, as well as insects, especially the scarab, forms a theme that runs through his pieces.

“My work is influenced by the figure, ranging from classical tradition to contemporary experimentation,” Johnson writes in his artist statement. “The human figure is the most complex of shapes and in many respects all shapes are confined within the figure.”

Johnson has also created a new body of work titled “Conflict,” a series of images created as a response to the violence and unrest that is found throughout the world.

Johnson has been the gallery director for the University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts since 2002. He holds both a BA and MA from the University of Saint Francis. He exhibits his work regionally and has had major exhibitions of his works at Wabash College (Ind.), Defiance College (Ohio), Adrian College (Mich.), Grace College (Ind.), Manchester University (Ind.) and University of Saint Francis (Ind.). He also has had his work presented at Artlink Contemporary Gallery (AVA Award Winner, Midwest Regional Award Winner), Castle Gallery Fine Art, Crestwoods Gallery, First Presbyterian Gallery and the Garrett Museum of Art. His work is represented by Crestwoods Gallery, Roanoke, Indiana.

"Midas" by Justin Johnson
“Midas” by Justin Johnson