The late Canadian artist Rosita Johanson (1937-2007) was a visual storyteller. Originally a dressmaker, Johanson transferred her talents to embroidery, using appliqué, machine embroidery, and hand-stitching to create vibrant works of art. Although her compositions were small (some were only 12 x 12 inches), the scenes she created were immense, filled with words, images, patterns, and symbols that take time to digest.
A new exhibition at the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin finally gives Johanson her due, presenting 20 of her works from the 1990s and early 2000s. In this exciting new show, RAM brings attention to an oft-ignored artist whose work endures even after she's gone.
Johanson was born in Saargebiet, Germany in 1937 and spent her formative years in Berlin during WWII; her creations draw upon “childhood memories, her imagination, and stories her father told her.” It's no surprise, then, that strife figures prominently in her work. The politically engaged artist weaves in broader political, social and cultural scenes, creating rich narratives involving Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and mythological characters.
Be sure to check out the slideshow below to see more of Johanson's magnificent embroideries and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.