Kara Cobb Johnson - Artist

Kara Cobb Johnson is an American Artist living and working in Chicago, Illinois. While my website is important, if you are here and reading this, I urge you to help support midwestern police stations that are currently assisting newly arrived Venezuelan refugees, keeping families safe and sound. Please stop by with food, gift cards and diapers to help support them.

More about me...The Illinois Arts Council grant funded a solo exhibition of her works at The University of Chicago Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where she collaborated with the Fabrication Lab and mentors to create a new permanent transparent vinyl artwork spanning across the East 53rd street buildings second floor windows. She is an alumna of Ragdale Artist Residency in Lake Forest and The Graham School at The University of Chicago where she is an alumna of the prestigious Center Program-CP4, funded by a generous DCASE professional development grant. Kara also was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Grant to professionally frame 6 large scale watercolors from Ragdale, display them at Polsky Center, hire an ASL interpreter for online content, and create an accompanying catalog with notes on the works written by art historian, Annie Morse.

Kara creates work from a conceptual core. Her focus is to create harmony within a picture plane, installation space, or sculpture. This authentic, playful, creative investment honestly scribes the dual natured demands of American womanhood and motherhood. The use of her hand and body moving around a work or through a space is also of import, making the work tactile and immediate in conception and commitment, but contemplative and cathartic in creation and consumption. Often works are renamed as time passes and according to where a work is displayed which can change the meaning it can evoke in each new setting. Her current works explore communication and propaganda in America today. She manipulates reflective hazard tape and electrical tape and fencing along with paper and cellophane to create light bending ephemeral installation landscapes that question stability and re-calibrate perception unique to each viewer.

Kara is a mother of 3 and wife of 20 years to her best friend and husband, Steve. She can be found in her studio located on floor 9 at MANA Contemporary Chicago working out new ideas, creating installations, curating fellow artists work on Falcon Gallery and researching artists' work and techniques. She supports and spearheads projects and initiatives of all sizes and scopes across the arts and most recently penned the Inclusion Fellowship for BIPOC and AALANA identifying artists in her role as Membership Chair of Chicago Sculpture International. She taught sculpture workshops at Arts of Life and Lathrop Homes Boys and Girls Club and was the Chair of Membership for Chicago Sculpture International in 2023.

In July 2023, Kara was awarded a Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Individual Artist Grant to create, curate, and coalesce new work for 2024. She is deeply appreciative to have received this distinguished recognition from her home city creatives and cultural leaders. Also in July 2023, Kara was chosen as the first MANA Contemporary Chicago-MCC spotlight artist on Instagram. Because of this, she is delighted to open her studio installations and practice to many colleagues, curators, and patrons or (and always) collectors, and the curious in the upcoming months.

In March 2024, Kara was chosen to participate in New Edition, A capstone program offered at the Hyde Park Art Center that culminates in a 3 month long exhibition of a new work in a new medium alongside an older work in the artists medium of comfort. She is excited to have been included in this opportunity along with 9 other artists. The exhibition will be curated by Jeff Robinson and be on view in the Kanter Family Foundation Gallery from July 13th to October 6th, 2024.