In 1969, after viewing what he called a “merited retrospective” of Johnson’s work at the Koenig Art Gallery at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska, art critic Leonard Thiessen of the Omaha World-Herald wrote:
Johnson was in several ways a precursor: his life work reveals a variety of well-integrated sources. Born in…[Omaha], he studied with Birger Sandzen at Lindsborg, Kansas.
His painting shows the impressionistic, heavy impasto handling favored by the anti-establishment “Konstnaersforbundent” group in Stockholm, with which Sandzen was allied before emigrating to the U.S.
Long before forged metal sculpture became commonplace, Thomas B. Johnson was creating lovingly crafted iron sculptures sinuously reminiscent of Art Nouveau and prophetic of the “psychedelic” pastiches recently revived.
Before black became beautiful, Johnson was deeply moved by the aesthetic contribution of Black Americans, and pursued his black studies in a series of drawings, “Negro Spirituals.”
Dead Man’s Run, block print, 1963
At Snowy Range Pass, block print, 1964
Ridge Point, block print, 1963
Stone House-Kansas, block print, undated
Noxon Dwelling, block print, 1963
Meyer Cabin, block print, 1960