In case you haven’t seen the recent Woolworth window exhibits, and happen to be walking by late at night, a forewarning of the beasts that may catch you off guard and stare straight into your eyes! Although, once you warm up to them you’ll see they are quite endearing. Beth Johnson’s dragons are dynamic: wavering somewhere between fierce, fire breathing dragons, and lovable, excited puppies (with tongue hanging out), ultimately gives them a whimsical quality.
Johnson’s sculptures are made from paper mache, meticulously constructed, and well painted. In certain parts there is a high degree of manipulation with lots of shading and texture. Yet in others parts the paper mache has simply been wrinkled and left alone, stepping up their humbling, honest, and quirky character. The piece pictured here, title “Red Dragon” won “Best of Show” in the 2011 National Arts Program* (NAP) exhibit. This acknowledgment meant a great deal to Johnson, who is a floral designer, actress, and prop maker, but hesitates to use the word “artist” in her title. That is, until the recent success of her sculptural works.
Johnson has worked for the City of Tacoma Public Works Department for 36 years. Her only formal visual art training was in public school K-12, although she has done floral design for over 30 weddings, and acts in the Performing Arts department of the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire.
Come visit the dragons, on display through August 15, 2013, in the Woolworth windows located at 955 Broadway.