Mary Johnson

Mary is an experimental sculptor based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Through an artistic practice that melds sculptural and traditional craft processes, my work draws on the familiarity of repurposed materials, investigating the ways in which our memories become associated and entangled with the items we come in daily contact with. I use the work as a way to pursue my continued interest in the narratives and rituals of these items, and specifically to explore effects of adaptation and transformation as a way to connect with one another.

While I engage conceptually with the past uses of the materials I work with, my art creates devices not only for sustaining existing stories, but for telling contemporary ones through remnants of the past. The nature of using these materials, themselves part of longer histories of craft and making, requires an acknowledgment of this history as well as an open mind, allowing me to experiment in how I bring together and layer these recognizable meanings to propose new narratives. This action is part of the excitement of making the work for me, and is a way for the viewer to enter into the work, starting with the material understandings that are meaningful to them, and following them down new paths.




All that Heaven Allows – DETAIL (mulberry, vintage plastic flowers, fabric bows, curling ribbon, vinyl, pipe cleaners, paint, steel, painted wooden box)


All that Heaven Allows (mulberry, vintage plastic flowers, fabric bows, curling ribbon, vinyl, pipe cleaners, paint, steel, painted wooden box)


Attendant to an Excessive Love of Novelty (repurposed synthetic toys, faux fur, metal stand)


Watchdog (repurposed wool blanket, buckthorn, cotton string, wooden ammo crate with rope handles)


They Hold Something They Don’t Anymore ( headboard foam, floral foam bricks, oak, paint)


Timekeeper (damask curtain, blanket batting, satin, and quilt scraps, synthetic fur, wood, cotton string, footstool)


Some Time When Everything Has Changed (upholstery, synthetic fur, lint, satin, cotton string, basswood, altered rag rug with wool blanket scraps, cotton thread)


Spark Box (lint, hairspray, silverware case)


Chockablock ( bed sheet, rag rug, synthetic fur, and blanket scraps, repurposed machine stand)


Wash Out (assorted repurposed synthetic furs, foam, felt)


All images © Mary Johnson



An  Edge of Humanity Magazine Project

CURATOR | Joelcy Kay