Walking into the Coburn Gallery's new art installation, you might blurt out, "What is that?" Don't worry, says the artist this is the exact reaction it's supposed to evoke.
"My pieces of art are questions, not answers," Scott Johnson says. "I'm interested in the ambiguity of people's perceptions."
One part of afterimages: an installation in three parts, allows the viewer to see through the eyes of a hunted animal. As a horse walked around in its natural environment, Johnson placed a camera on each side of its face; the installation plays the videos back side by side. The films have a destabilizing effect because they strip away the depth perception and straight-ahead perspective humans and other predators share.
Johnson, whose father was a pilot, grew up traveling. His experiences during his journeys are what have most influenced his artwork. As he digresses into a childhood memory of herding cows on a Navajo reservation, Johnson says the inspiration for his predator-and-prey piece comes "from my time being around cows and horses, where there is a different perception of time and space."
The concept of time and space influences another part of his installation, a slide projection of a single, rectangular white light on a white wall.
Johnson, who begins teaching sculpture at Colorado College this fall, says his artwork is often described as "esoteric." He responds by quoting his friend and fellow artist, Tim Rollins.
"If it looks like art," he says, "it probably isn't."
afterimages: an installation in three parts, works by Scott Johnson
Coburn Gallery, CC's Worner Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave.
Opening reception, Thursday, Sept. 7, 4:30 p.m.; public lecture, Sept. 21, 3 p.m.; show runs through Oct. 21.
Call 389-6607 for more information.