Published by Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Text by Jenny Gheith.
California-born, Portland-based artist Chris Johanson (born 1968) has made a significant departure from his previous bodies of work over the past five years. Reflecting on life and the material footprint that humans leave behind, he has abandoned wood substrates for discarded drop cloths and clothing stretched over found stretcher-bar materials, creating slow and meticulous paintings reminiscent of ancient frescoes or mandalas. This fully illustrated exhibition catalog highlights these latest works, with subject matter ranging from swirling abstractions to floating emotive heads to armies of ants. Johanson also incorporates six artworks by his late friend and fellow artist Chris Corales and a collaborative furniture piece by the artist and his partner, Johanna Jackson. This underscores the artist’s exploration of both bereavement and collaboration as meaningful components of meditative and balanced artistic activity.
Published by Deitch Projects. Text by Arty Nelson.
This board book documents Totalities, Chris Johanson’s recent “contemporary living installation” at Deitch Projects, New York. The theme of the work is the planet Earth and its place in the universe. There is also a meditation on the natural world of plants and animals—how they live within themselves, and how they are affected by humans—with an emphasis on conservation. All of the wood used in the exhibition was recycled, either from New York State, from dumpsters near the artist’s Brooklyn studio or from discarded art-shipping crates. The artist even asked his friends and acquaintances for scraps of wood, endeavoring to give his materials a third life. In this volume, he alludes to the degradation of the planet and the beauty of the world through art, reminding us all of our terrestrial responsibilities.
Published by Damiani. Text by Aaron Rose. Contributions by Sean Kennerly, Jack Hanley.
For more than a decade, Chris Johanson has been transforming day-to-day subject matter into simple stories in paintings that make bright, flat reference to illustration or folk art: The New York Times called their look "a down-on-its-luck, cheerfully abject cartoon style… reminiscent of artists like William Wegman, Raymond Pettibon and Sue Williams." The same primary palette and angular compositions make Johanson's abstract works, which often take the form of geometric patterns or starbursts, into gleeful but sophisticated takes on Modernism. This, the artist's first major monograph, is also only the second title from Alleged Press, created by Aaron Rose of the influential Alleged gallery (1992-2002) and organizer of the groundbreaking traveling exhibition and accompanying catalogue, Beautiful Losers, in which Johanson featured prominently alongside artists such as Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Phil Frost, Spike Jonze and Harmony Korine. Please listen I have something to tell you about what is assembles Johanson's complete works to date, as well as several new pieces that have appeared nowhere else. Each spins a world from small, diffuse details: these are scenes where nude dancers, distracted pedestrians, forests, abstract rainbows and "good vibes" exist next to one another, on a sinister, comic edge that, even in its apparent brightness, can reflect the darkest places of human experience.
Published by Deitch Projects. Essay by Aaron Rose.
Known for his expressive, skater-punk, urban landscape drawings that combine image and text in an irreverent, angst-ridden, deliberately pathetic sort of way, Chris Johanson takes over where Raymond Pettibon leaves off. Less angry and witty than his predecessor, Johanson scribbles colorful, dead-on portraits of street culture and the yuppies, hippies, hipsters, losers and drunkards who inhabit it.