Patricia Johanson is known for her large-scale art projects that create aesthetic and practical habitats for humans and wildlife. She designs her functional art projects, created with and in the natural landscape, to solve infrastructure and environmental problems, but also to reconnect city-dwellers with nature and with the history of a place. These project designs date from 1969, making her a pioneer in the field of ecological-art (or eco-art.) Johanson’s work has also been classified as Land Art, Environmental Art, Site-specific Art and Garden Art. Her early paintings and sculptures are part of Minimalism.
Johanson’s enthusiasm for nature and for art began in childhood. She grew up in New York City, where she spent countless hours in Frederick Law Olmsted parks. Her mother, a former model, introduced her to the arts. As a high school student, she excelled at music, but at Bennington College (1958-1962) she was a painting major. Through her contacts at Bennington, Johanson became part of the 1960s New-York art-world. Johanson earned a Master’s in art history at Hunter College, New York in 1964.