The Art of Stephen Robert Johns

AGL - Above Ground Level
July 1-November 1, 2004
LAX Terminal One
Los Angeles International Airport

Sarah Welch - 213.473.8481

AGL - Above Ground Level
August 4-September 3, 2004
Ruth Bachofner Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave, #G-2
Bergamot Station
Santa Monica, CA


AGL- Above Ground Level is an aeronautical term used to describe the liftoff of an airplane. It is a key phrase communicated between the pilot of an airplane and the control tower. AGL represents not only the physical act of an airplane in flight, but also a transition—from viewing the world on the ground, to actually observing the world from above.

While in flight, perspective views below are constantly changing and twisting; a variety of natural textures expose themselves, such as mountains, rivers and deserts, accented by age and the time of year, dominating the landscape while giving way to the geometric overlays of the man-made geography, such as highways, farms and cities, which provide a wealth of subject matter. Nighttime reveals miles of darkness, abruptly punctuated by the geometric grid of twinkling lights of a city... definitely fuel for the imagination. Then again, the view from atop a high- rise looking down on the city below, or the observation looking through a microscope at cellular structure can give the same impression as a view from 30,000 feet looking down on a body of windswept land; or upon a network of streets and rivers, neurons and veins, crisscrossing one another.

If an artist of today was to interpret aerial views, looking down upon the world below, what would the art look like? What materials would the artist use to describe that feeling of wonderment of what it is like to fly, to be above the ground on which they live? What would influence the artist's compositions? Materials used to construct airplanes – could they not also be of value to an artist as a medium for art? How about the exhilarating feeling of travelling through air at blinding speeds—could that not also be of inspiration?

Eight artists, whose artworks have been inspired from being above ground
level, make up this exhibition. Each artist has his or her interpretation of what it looks like, what it feels like, to view the world from above.

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Stephen Robert Johns, Curator

  The Art of Stephen Robert Johns