Medford Johnston was born in Atlanta, Ga., in 1941 and was raised in Decatur, Ga. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgia State University in 1965 and his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University in 1967. Johnston began an influential career as an art professor in Atlanta upon the completion of his postgraduate work in 1967, while at the same time maintaining an active studio practice. During his career as professor of art, Johnston generated several bodies of influential work and mentored successive generations of emerging artists in Atlanta. In addition to the High Museum of Art, Johnston’s works are included in the collections of such institutions as The Corcoran Gallery of Art/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Huntsville Museum of Fine Art; Mint Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA); corporate and private collections, among others.
The exhibition, "Medford Johnston: 1983" features mixed media works on paper which led to a single canvas that embodied the year’s work - 1983. This body of work was stored and put away for 25 years. Upon reflection, Johnston realized the impact of the work produced in this year, and how it influenced his work in years to come.
Known for linear abstraction, this work brought changes; it reintroduced the curve and an application of color that was not present before.
Johnston had always been an admirer of the work of Georges Seurat, and after having seen Stephen Sondheim’s, “Sunday in the Park with George”, he recognized that certain figures in Seurat’s painting, “Un Dimanche Après-midi à I'Île de la Grande Jatte”, had been the source of the curve re-entering the work.