The technique Johnson employs is extremely rigorous, involving, as he says, “pushing paint around with palette knives and drywall tools rather than brushes.” The scraping and sanding creates a variety of different textures and leads to the emergence of unexpected forms.
Johnson has said he does not believe in inspiration. Instead, he believes in evolution. He is motivated by process. Rather than being planned ahead of time, the work emerges through a series of critical responses to previous decisions. He begins each painting by taping off one or more horizon lines. His initial color choice then guides the composition forward. Certain elements—a color, a line, a texture—are destroyed, while other elements incite unimagined discoveries. His intuition is guided by visceral reactions to the physical qualities of paint, the quest for pictorial balance, and the emergence of abstract relationships. The most important part of this process is editing. As Johnson says, “that narrative—the story of the painting’s own making—becomes the central subject. It’s this process of trial and error— the flawed execution of a perfect concept—that can make a few lines and rectangles so compelling.”
About The Gallery
IdeelArt is an online only art gallery dedicated to contemporary abstract art, offering a representative selection of qualitative works from