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A Move Toward Abstraction

I remember many years ago, Lenny and I went to MOMA for the first time.  We stared incredulously at a canvas painted solid blue.  As many neophytes say when they see an abstract, we declared “A child could do that!” and “How ridiculous for this to be hanging in a museum!”

I’m actually now a fan of abstract – although I still think the blue canvas was rather simplistic, for lack of a better word.  In preparing for this blog, I Googled “Why paint an abstract?” and got some interesting answers:

  • Pure abstract represents what is felt on the inside rather than what is being seen on the outside.
  • Abstracts are meant to turn heads and illicit new imaginations within the viewer.
  • Abstracts should grab your attention and pull an emotional response from you.
  • Abstracts carry symbolic meanings that are left to the viewer to decide.

While known for his realistic portraits of women and children in beautiful settings, renowned figurative artist Richard Johnson has lately been taking a new direction with his art. In his own words, Johnson explains:

“I am captivated by the human form. There is nothing more expressive, or changeable, or immediate, or ephemeral than human beings. I have been trying to capture the elusive quality of being human in my paintings for many years. I have painted expressions. I have painted the way light interacts with the body. I have painted the sinuous curves and the delicate angles of the face, and the hands and the body.

On one hand I am very tied to realism as I want to express clearly what I see and how I see it, but as I have grown, and experienced so much more, I am drawn more and more to a certain abstraction that in some ways expresses more clearly what I am seeing and feeling. I have a need to simplify what I am painting to its most basic components and expressing the weight of those pieces by limiting my brush strokes to stronger and surer marks, a clarity of thought.

My newest paintings are the output of this new growth, this new way of seeing. Not only is the form important, but its meaning and emotional aura within its environment is just as important to me. As I am always growing and changing, these new paintings in some way are unfinished also as if they too are still changing. There is still room for growth……..”  Richard Johnson

We are very excited to welcome Richard Johnson back to The Art Shop on Friday evening, May 9 for a “don’t miss” one-man show.  See our website for details and be sure to join us for a gorgeous selection of new original oil paintings painted just for this show as well as new limited edition work on canvas.  Richard will be doing a live painting demonstration and making personal dedications on any canvas purchased. 

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