Obituary: Bruce Johnson, creator of two redwood sculptures in Shoreline, dies in California

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Woodwave, Kruckeberg Botanic Garden
Photo by Bruce Amundson

Bruce Johnson, the artist who has two sculptures in Shoreline’s public art collection, died recently, crushed while moving one of his monumental works in his studio in Cazadero, California. 

His two Shoreline sculptures include Redwood Lantern which resides on the rear patio of the Shoreline city hall and the iconic WoodWave, sited in the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden. WoodWave has become a magnet for kids to literally “experience” art, on a piece certified for playground safety before a dedication ceremony in 2013 when the sculpture was accepted by city leaders.

Johnson found international recognition with large-scale sculptures in Italy, Spain, Taiwan and many public and private collections in the U.S. His sculptures are found in cities such as Sacramento, Anchorage, Oakland and Palo Alto as well as numerous private collections and wineries. He has seven pieces in public and private collections in the Puget Sound region.

Bruce acquired tons of redwood from old timbering operations, floods and blow-down, transporting the massive materials to his outdoor studio, located in the redwood country of Sonoma County CA. 

In 1964 the Eel River in Northern California had a 100-year flood with flows greater than the Mississippi. These forces sent mountains of redwood stumps, roots and burls to rest along California’s north coast beaches. 

These events, and years of regrettable timbering operations, produced the raw material for his four decades of creativity, one of only two artists, ever, who have worked with redwood material to produce monumental pieces of art.

His studio name, Form and Energy, spoke to the uprooted, muscular, organic materials, the “dynamic relationship of mass, form and energy in my works. Boulders are mass, roots are form and logs are energy.” 

He often described his works as a cross between Shinto shrines and Stonehenge. He made innovative use of copper as scales to cap end grain and to direct water in his frequent water sculptures, or to create copper boulders. In WoodWave, reflections of Art Kruckeberg are represented by his copper hands (traced by Art on paper and forwarded to Bruce) on the inside tube of the piece.

Bruce’s life was honored by a Celebration of Life ceremony last week in the Luther Burbank Sculpture Garden in Santa Rosa California, with over 300 family, friends and artists joining in to acknowledge the loss of this gentle and creative man.

JoAnn and I were honored to join the family for the event. Bruce had become both a treasured friend and important artist in our lives. Fortunately, his legacy will continue to grace our community culturally.

Bruce Amundson


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP