Niki Johnson is an artist, curator and organizer. Raised in New Mexico, Johnson has spent her adult life living across the United States, including five-year stints in San Francisco, California, and Memphis, Tennessee. She received her BFA from the University of Memphis and MA/MFA degrees from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in Studio Art. In Wisconsin, Johnson has taught at the university level, and curated local and national exhibitions. Her artwork is in the permanent collections of Madison Central Public Library, UW-Health’s American Center Hospital and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Reviews of Johnson’s artwork have been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, and Vice Magazine, amongst other national and international media sources.
“As a feminist, my artwork voices my politics. Reflexively, the shows I curate weave together communities of artists to further engage issues of gender, identity, cultural power structures and human rights. I value art as a non-exclusive experience and believe that to affect social change, you must speak up, listen to others and be willing to give of yourself. These beliefs brings purpose to all aspects of my studio practice.
In the studio, I draw from a wide array of processes, techniques and materials to create my work. Affective theory guides my decisions in how a piece is made and what it is made out of. Both affect the way a piece communicates. Mold-making and casting, for example, are methods I use when speaking to American cultural history and our relationship to commodity. When engaging gender and identity, women’s traditional craft, like weaving or stitching or altering heirloom objects, such as commemorative plates, become essential ingredients in concocting the overall meaning of a piece.”