Johnathon Strube

Assemblage of Meaning

MFA one-person exhibition commenting on perceptions of meaning; reacting to authority of meaning; and creating dialogue about the value of meaning.

This work presented methodology and research in the construction of type, image and message. I explored interpretations of assemblage (assembler, maker, commentator) to create composition and message. These compositions presented reactionary commentary, abstract expression and collaborative dialogue. The exhibition was presented in three bodies of work that related to the specific construction techniques and conceptual frameworks.

As I Understand It
We often define personal meaning through collective agreement. A common form of these agreements are truisms, or claims so obvious that mentioning it only serves as a rhetorical reminder. Therefore, we can view these truisms as absolutes without examining their personal relevance. To explore this, I created posters that re-state truisms as they relate to the three most important roles in my life: my vocation, being a visual communicator; my passion, being an educator; and my calling, being a father. Simultaneously, each poster reflects a social construct that reinforces these adaptations.

Whole Other
As a culture, we are bombarded with an alarming number of messages on a daily basis—the majority coming from digital sources. These messages, both in our lives and this work, are curated, repeated, fractured, processed, filtered, distorted, layered and juxtaposed. Codified with language and filtered through form—each element representational of a singular meaning. Paraphrasing gestalt psychologist, Kurt Koffka, we are reminded that no single element ever exists independently, but signals a larger whole. Meaning and significance never isolated, but mutually exclusive to understanding. No sense pulled from separate points, but only from a constructed whole. Often expressed as “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” implies that many has more value than the single. But, more appropriately, the whole is only representational of an independent element completely autonomous from the singular parts.

Sunday News
This body of work represents the inspiration for my entry into assemblage as an image-making method. As a former editorial designer, I wanted to re-interpret messages presented in the Sunday news edition for an entire year. The work serves as a tangible representation as both a reflection and projection of culture. Each piece focused on condensing a single story or reacted to a pervasive theme as a study in image-making; composition; concept; message; and construction.


Ola Giza, Chair
Steve Quinn
Bart Woodstrup


© Johnathon Strube, 2016–2018.
About this Site