Home, 1996 (detail)

Ken Johnsonís highly intimate approach to abstraction suggests a thorough immersion in the dips and turns that modernist history has taken since Kandinsky first began to improvise color and shape at the beginning of the century. In works on paper, Johnson loosely applies a sense of order to shapes that emerge from a gradual filling-in of the surface. Varying patterns meet and overlap in a rhythmic interplay, at times suggesting film designs or commercial art as much as art-historical sources. In general, Johnson appears to be making the argument that abstraction should be seeking a different kind of vitality at the present moment, one that is based on a more or less free sense of play between popular visual culture and the more specialized realm of painting, sculpture and installation art. Granting equal weight to craft and theory, Johnson makes abstraction which is as approachable as folk art.

(excerpt from Dan Cameron's catalog essay, click to see full text)


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