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Updated: May 2, 2022

It is as if artist Robert Johnson was experiencing the longing for safety amidst the current pandemic when titling his major body of work, Safe Places. In truth, Johnson started this ambitious project three years ago, with the objective to reside and work on site in all 41 North Carolina State Parks.

Robert Johnson has chronicled the natural world on three continents in pencil, acrylic, and gouache on paper and canvas for over 40 years. His work echoes influences from late medieval Italian, American Folk, Indian Miniature, Tibetan Thangka, and Balinese painting traditions. Besides large-scale paintings, Safe Places includes his journal and notebook pages: intimate, annotated field observations of plants, birds, along with notes to himself.

“I hope people seeing Safe Places will understand what an ecologically diverse state we live in. I hope they will feel inspired to go hike the trails in our parks with an observant eye. The more people get out to see the beauty of these areas the more they are likely to care for state parks and will want to preserve what is left of the natural environment,” Johnson reflects.

An exhibition at the Cameron Art Museum showcases more than 80 artworks realized through the artist’s vulnerable investigations. Opening himself to the environment, he shares, “Recording the mood of a landscape is just as important as recording what I see.” Among the works on display in “Carolina Beach,” Johnson’s painting of Carolina Beach State Park.

Various works by Robert Johnson from Safe Places are available for purchase by contacting Blue Spiral Galleryin Asheville, NC at (828) 251-0202. 10% of all sales will benefit the Cameron Art Museum.

Visit Cameron Art Museum and spend time in Safe Places before it goes!


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