Earth’s Alchemy – Featuring Rock Johnsen

Exhibition Extended through Saturday, March 5th, 2022!

February 4th – March 5th, 2022 // Rock Johnsen solo exhibition exploring the periodic table through his custom ceramic glazes.

With the new year in full swing, the transformative power of winter in the Twin Cities sets the stage for Gamut Gallery’s first show of 2022: Earth’s Alchemy.  We are thrilled to host Minnesota State Arts Board recipient, Rock Johnsen, who shares his passion for chemistry and geology in his first solo gallery exhibition.

Through his experimental glazing methods, the distinctive and delicate crystal structure highlighted in Rock’s body of work evokes the familiarity of ice cracking under the weight of heavy-soled snow boots this February.  From everyday objects like plates, mugs and bowls to his larger-than-life periodic table installation, Rock explores the intersection of art and science by way of the earth’s rare elements and his pottery wheel.  In doing so, he shows us that elements can interact with one another within the confines of solid and functional objects.

Just like no two snowflakes are alike, each piece featured in this exhibit is one of a kind, inspiring us to remember science in everyday life and its inherent influence on societal progress and inclusivity.  Rock’s work represents the certainty of constant evolution at an atomic level, the diversity that stems from these atomic interactions, and their eventual influence on our collective appreciation and interest in expressing ourselves through art.

MN State Board Art Grant.
Rock Johnsen is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 // 6-9pm
Meet & greet with Rock Johnsen
• This event is for Gamut Gallery Members, become a Member today!

Friday, February 4th, 2022 // 6-9pm
• This event is FREE in thanks to the Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board
• Limited 30 person capacity
FREE pre-sales available & recommended
• Masks required indoors

Saturday, February 19th, 2022 // 10AM
Moderated by Cassie Garner
• This event is FREE in thanks to Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board
• Masks required indoors
• Coffee & treats provided

Rock Johnsen is a scientist and potter living in Minneapolis, MN who grew up in Kansas and Missouri. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Pittsburgh University in studio arts with a focus on ceramics and chemistry. Rock’s work explores concepts of duality that he has been perpetually confronted with growing up as a queer person of mixed race in the United States. He uses human anatomy and creatures to examine our comfort level with functional items and also explores the links between chemistry and geology in ceramic glaze. 

His unique crystal growing process is really the recreation of an environment. Rock uses a kiln to simulate the earth’s mantle. Over several hours, between 1800-2200 degrees Fahrenheit, the mixture of basic elements transition to a liquid state. While the vessel’s surface is still fluid, zinc and silica atoms attract one another due to their natural polarities, migrating through the liquid to form larger molecules. With each new piece, Rock mimics environmental conditions by making slight adjustments to the temperature and holding times of the ceramic media; the chemical properties of each element emerge from the crystal solution as the final size, shape, and reflection of each piece becomes an individual representation of material science.