Dion Johnson

United States 1975


Dion Johnson
Dion Johnson
United States
February 19, 2015
Music, Gestalt, .

Dion Johnson is an uprising American painter known for his distinctive color usage. Fully utilizing the color spectrum, Dion Johnson’s work consists of amorphous forms of brilliant color.

Johnson was born in Ohio in 1975, and holds a BFA from Ohio State University and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University.

Each work allows the viewer to focus on a unique interplay of overlapping, crisscrossing color and shapes, creating the illusion of movement and spatial relationships of varying depth. While the paintings’ crispness of line finds its origins in the digital sketches that Johnson works with, the completed works are truly a feast for the eyes. His extraordinary use of acrylic paint creates almost digital landscapes, enhanced by his ability to camouflage both brush and stroke.

Johnson’s distinctive technique solicits the viewer’s closer examination, although there is no trace of line to be found.  His large-scale canvases are visual experiences in precision, beauty, design, and most importantly, color. Johnson facilitates the “dripping” effect of the paint, by augmenting reality, meaning the overlap of color is not organic; rather the artist challenges the viewer’s interpretation of color, and enhances it in a constantly-evolving way. Inspired by his local surroundings, Johnson’s work represents one of the latest installments in the field of So-Cal abstraction that first developed in the mid-twentieth century.

Johnson’s paintings combine and explore dynamic opposites: expansiveness and compression, darkness and light. Johnson uses color to evoke the contemporary urban, digital and natural landscape of Southern California, and skews the vocabulary of abstraction into a hybrid techno-language. His compositions use broad open shapes with convex/concave edges against multi-planed bands, evoking atmospheric spatial shifts. The diagonal structures possibly allude to car windows or an opening retina, each exposing a radiant vastness. Johnson’s use of color is intuitive, though his Pop inspired vision comes from the commercial tangle of Southern California city structure. Whether observing the curvature of freeway interchanges or bright noon daylight, Johnson’s work is a clear balance of the harmonic and dissonant qualities in our environment.

His work has been exhibited extensively in the United States, including his 2012 and 2015 exhibitions at De Buck Gallery, Velocity and Chromatic Momentum. His work is included in many public and private collections, including the Pizzutti Collection (Columbus, OH) and the Andaz Hotel (West Hollywood, CA).

Johnson currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Chromatic Momentum De Buck Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
201411 YEARS – Western Project Anniversary Group Exhibition Western Project, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2013Vivid Slipstream: New Paintings and Works on Paper Western Project, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
2013Tripod: Kyla Hansen & Dion Johnson Peggy Phelps Gallery, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, CaliforniaGroup
2012Velocity’De Buck Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
2012Summer Selections De Buck Gallery, New York, New YorkGroup
2011New PaintingsWestern Project, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
2011About Paint, Carl Berg Projects West Hollywood, CaliforniaGroup
2010Set Theory Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CaliforniaGroup
2010Construction Zone Western Project, Los Angles, CaliforniaGroup
2009Brilliant Frequencies Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioSolo
2009Shadows and Vistas Project 210, Pasadena, CaliforniaSolo
2009TwilightCypress College Fine Arts Gallery, Cypress, CaliforniaSolo
2009Western Project: The First Six Years Western Project, Culver City, CaliforniaGroup
2009DrawingsRebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioGroup
2009Art for a RecessionRebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioGroup
2008Isotope Series Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioSolo
2008Plush, curated by Martin DurazoCenter for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2007Works on Paper Empathy Design Company, South Pasadena, CaliforniaSolo
2007Family Garden,’ curated by Shana Nys Dambrot and Elizabeth Paige Smith Elizabeth Paige Smith Atelier, Venice, CaliforniaGroup
2007 Pixel Harris Art Gallery, La Verne, CaliforniaGroup
2006Dion Johnson, Sush Machida Gaikotsu and Kelly McCormick Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioGroup
2006Beauty, The Sublime, Intensity, Gallery Project, Ann Arbor, MichiganGroup
2005Radiance Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
2005Continuous Transmission Desiree’ Synder Gallery, Sarasota, FloridaSolo
2004New Paintings: Project Room Stephen Stux Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
2004Wow and Flutter Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioSolo
2004Microclimate The Harris Art Gallery, La Verne, CaliforniaGroup
2004Claremont Seven Seven Degrees, Laguna Beach, CaliforniaGroup
2004Observations Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup
2004Reordering Reality: Collecting Contemporary Art The Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus OhioGroup
2003Fresh: Works on Paper, A Fifth AnniversaryJames Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New MexicoGroup
2003Ten Years in Columbus, Part 1,Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioGroup
2002Popsicle Scenarios Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioSolo
2002Softer Frequencies Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
2001UntitledBill Maynes Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
2001Summertime 2001, Part 2, Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OhioGroup
2001InformantsThe Harris Art Gallery, The University of La Verne: La Verne, CaliforniaGroup
2001Homage: Roland Reiss Claremont Alumni Show, Center for the Arts, Claremont, CaliforniaGroup
2001Cross-pollination, curated by Susan Joyce The Holland Tunnel, Brooklyn, New YorkGroup
2000UntitledRebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, Ohio (catalog)Solo
2000UntitledClaremont University (MFA exhibition), Claremont, CaliforniaSolo
2000CurrenciesPatricia Correia Gallery, Santa Monica, CaliforniaGroup
2000 New American Talent, 15th Exhibition,’ curated by David Pagel The Jones Center for Contemporary Art, Austin, Texas and traveling through 2001Group
1999Emerging Artists in Ohio Sandusky Cultural Center, Sandusky, OhioGroup
1998UntitledRebecca Ibel Gallery (Ibel Simeonov), Columbus, OhioSolo
1998UntitledROY G BIV, Columbus, OhioSolo
1998Both, First Year Graduate Exhibition, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CaliforniaGroup
1997UntitledExposures Gallery, Columbus, OhioSolo
1997Ohio, Rebecca Ibel Gallery (Ibel Simeonov), Columbus, OhioGroup