CHRIS JOHANSON: 'SUBJECT MATTER, UNBLIVION,PEACE TRAIN OF THOUGHT | HOW I FIGURED OUT HOW TO HAVE AN ART SHOW IN 2021' 

AT THE MODERN INSTITUTE, GLASGOW

FEBRUARY 2021

With the waging coronavirus pandemic digitalising art exhibitions it reduces viewers to enter shows in the knowledge that the works on display will be no larger than the four corners of their computer screen, with colours and detail compromised as a result. However, turning this preconception on it's head The Modern Institute share the technicolour palette of Chris Johanson with a daub of sensitivity for the ways in which artists cannot share physical works with their audience, instead required to engage in a ghostly virtual gallery at a remove from those whom the works are made for. 

Johanson describes his paintings as 'meditation paintings', the canvases a surface upon which anxieties are distilled and the weightiness of the covid landscape is able to run through the artist's hand and mark in time the project of simply 'being' during a pandemic. 

In the quiet months of winter the body of acrylic works efficiently translates the experience of Johanson, as an artist and musician living in Oregon and Southern Californian regions of America. Against the backdrop of the protests that swarmed the presidential election period, Johanson paints on raw, used canvas reducing the basis for his works to what is worn and second-hand to speak of a dialogue between the material world and interactions with the personal and the public within the artist's career. 

Paintings are affixed to the walls and some reside on trestle tables encouraging a kind of 'surround' narrative with colours sparking from one canvas and fusing with table-top imagery of explosive colours and child-like compositions. Amongst colour and pattern can be found phrases like 'Occupy Time' and 'Use Colour Innocently' speaks to the tension that holds the world in tight grip in times of uncertainty with bright palettes of acrylic colour sharing a child-like enthusiasm for the potential that the future holds. The paintings that hang on the wall, under close examination reveal perennial spirals and fine patterns of colour that spill across the canvas in swathes interspersed by figures in one, large scale instance. 

Johanson’s technique and comic style paired with his wry observations suggest an optimism and encouragement to find calm and humour within the current chaos and uncertainty.

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