YNEZ JOHNSTON Cave Painting, 1957, Oil & plastic steel on canvas, 38” x 54” (more)
(b. 1920 – 2019)
Painter/printmaker Ynez Johnston was born in 1920 in Berkeley, California. She studied drafting, painting and printmaking at the University of California with Worth Ryder, Erle Loran and Margaret Peterson. Johnston’s work is characterized by “jigsaw” shapes reminiscent of primitive designs. Her unique style blends modernism and ancient art forms from her travels to Italy, Mexico, India and Nepal. She has also done 3-dimensional pieces in collaboration with her husband, poet and novelist John Berry, and with ceramic sculptor Adam Mekler.
Her watercolors, oils and etchings of the 1950s and 1960s were rich with complex imagery, and displayed a disciplined and somewhat restrained use of color.
The display of her paintings and etchings in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1951) was the launch of her career as a successful artist.
She received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, first place in watercolor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1952, and Fresno Art Museum’s Distinguished Artist Award in 1992. She exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and at Mitsukoshi in Tokyo. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.