Kathryn Jill Johnson

Associate Professor of Art, Painting & Drawing


If I had to describe a quality that applies to the art that I like best, I’d use the word poetic. What do I mean by poetic? The dictionary defines it as "having an imaginative or sensitively emotional style of expression" and that’s a fine beginning. However I also see it as a juxtaposition of economy and extravagance. Information, both visual and metaphorical, is reduced to only what is needed in order to open the work for interpretation. Along with this economy, however, the artist must imbue the work with richness and intensity. This can be performed with an explosion of ornamentation, form, marks, materials or even emptiness. The key is both revelation and mystery, an authenticity not burdened with elucidation. The desire to create this quality of expression imbues all of my studio production and serves my conceptual concerns. I am interested in exploring people’s wounds and desires and how those things shape individual personalities and relationships with others and the world. I am interested in the perverse and the redemptive, the forlorn and the transcendent the way that each person’s life is at once a comedy and a tragedy. I explore these issues through ideas about the body, language and narrative.

I view learning as a cooperative effort between instructor and student, I approach each class with flexibility and aim for responsiveness. My goal as I design my courses is to help our students develop in a number of ways as they progress from lower level to advanced coursework. First, I want them to acquire some basic skills, and more importantly understand the process of skill acquisition. Most contemporary artists learn how to use new processes as needed to work in a variety of media whatever is necessary to their specific vision. Secondly, they must learn the critical skills and language to evaluate and interpret artwork, both their own and that of others. Thirdly, they must learn about what is going on in the contemporary art world and learn professional practices that will help them forward their careers. The final, and I believe most important thing that these young artists must do is to discover their own artistic voice and learn to express it authentically.

Visit kathrynjilljohnson.com to see more of my work.


  • M.F.A. Drawing & Painting, University of Georgia, 2003
  • B.A. Fine Arts, Summa Cum Laude (Studio Art), University of South Florida, 1999

Classes Taught


  • Celebrating Our Own: Huntsville Women Artists, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL (Curator: David Reyes), 2015
  • Impermanence, Gallery One, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS (solo), 2015
  • Collective Explorations, Bloch Gallery, University of Montevallo, Montevallo AL (Curators Misty and Joe Bennett), 2014
  • Works on Paper, Fayetteville Lincoln County Library, Fayetteville, TN (solo), 2014
  • Art of the State, Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, Tuscumbia AL. (Jurors Jere Allen and Ron Dale), 2014
  • Recent Work, Lowe Mill Arts Center, Huntsville, Alabama (solo), 2013
  • Fifth Annual PINNACLE National Juried Art Competition,Tanner Gallery, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida (Juror:Robin Holder), 2013
  • Faculty Exhibition, Union Grove Gallery, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama, 2013
  • Strange Glue, Collage at 100, Thompson Gallery, Cambridge School of Westin, Westin, Connecticut (Curator Todd Bartell), 2012
  • Oh Well, Class of 1929 Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Madison Wisconsin (solo), 2012
  • Love, Arthur M. Berger Art Gallery, Manhattanville College, Purchase New York (Jurors: Christine Dehre and Charles McGill), 2012
  • Art of the State, Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, Tuscumbia , Alabama (Juror: Nandini Makrandi,), 2012
  • Armstrong National 2-D Competition Exhibition, AASU Gallery, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah Georgia (Juror: Shana Barefoot), 2012
  • Alabama’s Finest, Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden Alabama (invitational), 2011
  • These Things Happen, Wilson Hall Gallery, University of Alabama in Huntsville (solo)
  • Faculty Exhibition, Wilson Hall Gallery, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2010
  • Panoply Festival of the Arts, Art Educators Exhibition (invitational), Huntsville, AL, 2010
  • Drawing Discourse, S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, University of North Carolina, Asheville, 2010
  • BAD GUYS, Connector Gallery, Flying Monkey Arts Center, Huntsville, AL, 2009
  • Material as Signifier from Outer Space Collaborative works by Kathryn Jill Johnson and Jessica Marie Lund, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2009
  • Recent Work, 114 Main, Gallery RFD Alternate Venue, Swainsboro, GA, 2009
  • Panoply Festival of the Arts, Art Educators Exhibition (invitational), Huntsville, AL, 2009
  • 1st Annual University of Mobile Juried Art Exhibition, University of Mobile, 2008
  • Wall to Wall: Monumental Drawings, Lexington Art League, Lexington, KY, 2008
  • Faculty Exhibition, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 2008
  • Medicalized Fairy Tales, UNA Gallery, University of North Alabama, 2007
  • The 31st Bradley International Print and Drawing Exhibition, Bradley University, Peoria, IL, 2007
  • Summer Residency Program Exhibition (invitational), Cooper Union School of Art, New York, New York, 2007
  • Summer, AAMU Gallery, Alabama A&M University, 2007
  • Valdosta National, Valdosta State Gallery, Valdosta State University, 2007
  • American portfolio IV, Chemeketa Community College, Salem, OR, 2007
  • Dislocations Cade Center for the Fine Arts Gallery, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MA, 2007