Whitney Johnson-Lessard works in traditional painting and an extended painting practice based in installation. Primary notions that guide her work involve transformation, concerns of a habitable future, and relationships. She engages with living materials and beings and their own temporalities. Past work includes the project “32 assumptions,” which explores connections between language, color, and land. She is currently working on a project that centers pigments and their identities. She is interested in how pigments can have multiple existences - perceived color, physical substances with past and future lives, and representations of new imaginative images. These paintings include calcium carbonate from chickens’ eggshells and an iron oxide as it crumbles from a railroad.

Whitney lives and works in Peoria, Illinois. She received an Associate's degree from Illinois Central College in 2014, a BFA from Illinois State University in 2017, and an MFA from Northwestern University in 2022. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in central Illinois; Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Champaign, and Evanston, IL. She has recently participated in a residency program with Project 1612 in Peoria, and exhibited work with the artist-run curatorial project Lease Agreement. She currently teaches drawing at Bradley University and drawing and painting with the Peoria Art Guild.