Root 101, by internationally acclaimed artist and friend of the Center Bruce Johnson, was the inaugural exhibit for our Sculpture Garden in June, 2015. Sadly, the landscaping of the paths and some of the sculptures were damaged by the Tubbs fire in 2017. The Five Elements piece, which the Center purchased for our permanent art collection, was destroyed and had to be removed from the property, along with other sculptures.

Please enjoy these photos and notes on the beautiful Root 101, which is fondly remembered and dearly missed.

Root 101, the inaugural exhibit by Bruce Johnson, is composed of colossal wood sculptures made from salvaged old growth redwood, which he has been working with for 50 years. Three years ago, Johnson acquired 80 tons (four truckloads) of huge salvaged redwood stumps and chunks, some trees over 1,000 years old near a tributary to the Eel River. “There is something primal and archetypal about these huge water-washed forms,” observes Johnson. “Within the form of roots and swirl of grain you can see and touch patterns of nature and feel the fractal expression of growth and energy. These materials are the heart of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts exhibit.”

Photos by Vi Bottaro:

About the Artist

Born in Oregon, Johnson grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. He attended UC Davis where he received a BA and acquired his Teacher’s Credential. His studio is in rural Sonoma County, on a coastal ridge. Despite his rural location Johnson has found international recognition with large-scale sculpture in Italy, Spain and Taiwan as well as many private and public collections in the U.S.A. Johnson is also a master builder. Of special importance to him is his work on sacred buildings such as the Sea Ranch Chapel, the historic chapel at Fort Ross, a Moon Gate at the Asian Art Museum and especially the exquisitely beautiful Poetry House.

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