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Rowan University

Seward Johnson, Sculptor

After an early career as a painter, Seward Johnson turned his talents to the medium of sculpture.  Since then, more than 350 of Johnson's life-size cast bronze figures have been featured in private collections and museums in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as prominent places in the public realm such as Rockefeller Center, Pacific Place, Hong Kong, Les Halles in Paris, and Via Condotti in Rome. This oeuvre of Seward Johnson sculptures depicts people engaged in every day activities.  Johnson’s desire to highlight the mundane in his Celebrating the Familiar sculpture series has brought a unique voice to the world of public art.

Johnson is often recognized for his most dramatic work -- and also his largest -- the 70' aluminum giant entitled "The Awakening."  This sculpture was selected for the International Sculpture Conference & Exhibition and is currently sited in National Harbor, Maryland.   The exhibition history of Johnson’s work also includes the Galleria Ca D'oro of Piazza di Spagna in Rome, the cities of Berlin and Hannover, Germany, Oxford, England, the RW Norton Art Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Jacksonville Art Museum, the island of Sardinia, Italy, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Yale University.   Corporate collectors include the Nike Corporation, Dial/Viad, the Commerz Bank, and numerous hospitals, universities.   Pieces are held in private and municipal collections in such distant locations as Istanbul, Turkey, the Ukraine, Sydney, Australia, Monte Carlo, Brazil and Osaka, Japan.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art of Washington, D.C. introduced Johnson’s Impressionist-inspired series entitled Beyond the Frame with a solo museum exhibition.  This body of work, consisting of elaborate tableaux that allow viewers to walk into the scenes of Impressionist paintings, went on to New York’s Nassau County Museum and Florida’s Cummer Museum of Art, and Museum of Art & History at the Custom House in Key West.  The show will continue to tour museums throughout the U.S. 

Seward Johnson's most recent series, Icons Revisited, asks provocative questions concerning our society's embrace of particular visual icons, and their impact and shift of message over time.  Concurrent to this third body of work, Johnson has begun to enlarge a select few sculptures into monumental scale for placement in the public domain.  To date these twenty foot presences have been on view through the Sarasota Season of Sculpture annual fine arts exhibition, the Port of San Diego, the Chicago Arts Commission and various museums.

Johnson has long been considered one of the most widely recognized sculptors of our time.  At 80, the artist continues to create increasingly memorable works in bronze. The city of Stamford, Connecticut mounted the largest exhibition of Johnson's work, through the support of forty-two corporate sponsors, inclusive of works from each of the three Johnson series.  Fifty-two sculptures were sited along the city's thoroughfares, in the public parks, municipal buildings and museums spaces.

Johnson was invited by an international arts committee to mount monumental works for the G8 Summit of world leaders that took place in the Spring of 2009 in Sicily.  Additional exhibitions and placements this year and next include Rome, Italy,  Amsterdam, Albany, New York, Chicago, Illinois, Los Angeles and San Diego, California as well as Washington, DC.