18 Apr Lodi Arts brings exhibit of 10 life-size sculptures by Seward Johnson Jr. to Downtown Lodi

Next week, when you’re in Downtown Lodi, California, you may see pieces of everyday life that, somehow, don’t quite fit. You may see an older woman holding a bag of groceries in front of the Woolworth Building. Or a child petting a motionless dog in Pret Plaza. Or a runner frozen in time outside of Sheri’s Sonshine.

It may seem a little strange — and it may fool you at first. However, that is part of the satisfaction that artist J. Seward Johnson Jr. gets out of his life-sized sculptures.

The 10-piece sculpture exhibit along historic School Street will be unveiled Friday at the 19th annual School Street Stroll.

Life-sized colored bronze sculptures depict people from all backgrounds doing routine activities: reading, walking the dog and working.

Though Seward is internationally known, he has been known to blend into a crowd and critique his own displayed work, just so he can understand the response. Seward, now in his 80s, continues to make the bronze castings in his studio that is near a large foundry. Seward splits his time between Florida and Nantucket.

Paula Stoeke, director of The Sculpture Foundation says each piece — which is a two-year creative process — is a reflection of what he sees in life.

“He’s a great observer of people,” she said. “He spends time just watching people and how they interact with their sense of personal space.”

The exhibit, which is paid for by Lodi’s Arts in Public Places Fund, will be on display through July 15. Those participating in the Wine Street Stroll can sip wines from the Lodi Appellation while shopping and viewing the pieces that have been shown worldwide. 

“The Art Advisory Board hopes that the Lodi community will enjoy the photos, take photos with them, bring out-of-town guests to see them and to be excited that his world-renowned art is here in Lodi,” said Deanie Bridewell, city of Lodi community center manager.

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