mariah anne johnson

Countertop Studies, 2018-2019


Upon returning to Los Angeles from Washington, DC, in the summer of 2018, my family rented an apartment in East Hollywood on North Alexandria Avenue. Our kitchen had a multipurpose bar area built into one section of the countertop, for eating, working, and other functions. Items continually accumulated there, and I continually cleared them away; these patterns felt almost tidal in their unceasing back and forth.

I began the Countertop Studies as an investigation into the work of keeping a home clean, using the methods and materials of drawing and the framework of a still life to make this labor visible. These drawings are site-specific and durational, occurring over the period of a month on this section of countertop. Large sheets of heavy paper are cut to fit this space, and the objects that linger there are drawn in outline. The activities and interventions of my family are also present in these works, as spills, scribbles, dirt, and tears accumulate with my drawings, creating an authentic record of our lived experience in this space.