•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Current Exhibition

EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

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Paul Johnson
Sister

2006

Hand coloured paper collaged on board

72 x 55 cm
Paul Johnson describes his work as “fiction”. In this series of work, each of his figures is a compilation of three different elements: a head, body, and uniform, each separately sourced from found photographs. “They have a Masonic ritual quality,” says Johnson. “The three elements are drawn, photographed, then photocopied before they are collaged. The intention is to construct a real person. In Sister, the girl has a floating or constructed aura above her head, these abstract forms are the thought patterns or feelings this person is having. They also can be read as hair adornments that echo some form of ritual she might be going through. Most of my portraits have a passiveness to them. The figures are kind of turned away, slightly switched off as if other things are happening to them and they are not in control of themselves.”
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Paul Johnson
Sister (Detail)

2006

Hand coloured paper collaged on board

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Paul Johnson
Brother Benedict

2006

Hand coloured paper on board

72 x 55 cm
Johnson develops his works as intricately assembled paper ‘mosaics’. The images he works from are cut into jigsaw-like pieces, “each element is hand-cut, hand coloured and then interlocked back into itself.” Johnson explains. “The whole surface is completely flat, and they operate as if they are paintings. My work is very lovingly handcrafted and labour-intensive, and I think about them as almost something that a monk from the Middle Ages would make, they have a devotional or possible religious quality to them. That’s where the title Brother Benedict comes from. They’re half about the everyday, and half about other more thoughtful things, and suggest ideas about spiritualism or the contemporary sublime. Youth culture is an undercurrent in my work, it’s like they’re involved in some sort of group – everyone’s got a logo, like some kind of teenage gang; the one in Brother Benedict comes from a lodge banner.”
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Paul Johnson
Brother Benedict (Detail)

2006

Hand coloured paper on board

72 x 55 cm
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Paul Johnson
Guide

2007

Hand coloured paper collaged on board

70 x 70cm
“I think of my portraits as a constructed family: one leads to the other, and though related they become increasingly disparate. They’re like dream scenarios, and nod to a tradition of romanticism and the Pre-Raphaelites. The girl in Guide is from a photograph of a murderess, though in the painting she looks quite innocent. I called it Guide in reference to the disc motifs – the badge on her chest and the auras around her head – it’s like she’s being guided by some other force, where reality and imagination become confused. The shape of the aura comes from a lid my friend in Texas found on the road. It has a formal but broken quality. I like the virtual aspect of how it came from the ground, to the Internet, to another country, to become something completely new in the painting.”

ARTICLES

Paul Johnson The Glass Family

For Paul Johnson's exhibition at the gallery in 2003 one had to peer through the diaphanous surfaces of his collages to collect the fragments of an unsettling tableau. Placed over the work was a translucent laminate surface that stood between the picture plane and the viewer and which sealed inside the illusionism of the picture.

As a result, the details of the intensely made collages were removed from close scrutiny and what was left were the after-effects of the image. The graphic qualities of the collages functioned in a remote, imaginary way. There was no narrative immediacy, instead a slow disclosure, emptying out into strange, imaginative worlds.

For his new exhibition, The Glass Family, Johnson has removed the laminate surface from his work. What are shown are the intricately, detailed constructions of collages using a technique interlocking fragments of individually hand-coloured paper.

His subjects, four portraits - two boys and two girls - and a stairwell, are recovered from old newspapers and magazines; a particular source of Johnson's imagery is old skateboard and speedway magazines. Found in the work, also, are number of recurring motifs: esoteric badges, logos, marks of symbolism and orb-like discs. These crop up as pictorial, structural devices within the logic of the depiction and also as signifiers of other-worldly attributes and belief systems. He uses them, also, to create an idea of family resemblances and reinforces the notion of the family hewn from the show title. Whilst, they should be read as mental manifestations of the characters personalities, these motifs have an ability to introduce a spatial dimension to what are sometimes flat grounds of background colour.

Johnson's work is framed by an interest in outsider and visionary art. His exhibition follows on from a group of three shows he curated featuring outsider artists: Future Primitive, Prophet Royal Robertson and World B.

A two-sided work in the show mounted on a plinth, whilst allowing him to introduce a new device to explore facets of his own work through close ups and details, is also a reference to the tendency for outsider artists to use both sides of the paper.

Read the entire article here
Source: oneintheother.com