kasia kay art projects is pleased to announce “Palisades”, the gallery’s first solo exhibition for Elisa Johns. Working with oil on canvas, Johns draws influence and inspiration from the rugged, pristine landscape of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, where she spends her summers backpacking.
While depicting the landscape as harsh and unyielding, Johns also incorporates elements of sensuality and tenderness, effectively creating a narrative interplay between the masculine and feminine duality of nature - a source of both pleasure and pain, simultaneously sympathetic and pitiless.
In these paintings, Johns’ panoramic stone peaks contend with ethereal female forms and become characters themselves. Powerful, masculine palisades intertwine with delicate strokes contextualizing the female form. Mountains, set within a dream-like void of large open spaces, evoke the otherworldliness of epic fantasy. Both haunting and lyrical, Johns’ paintings delve deep into the sublime mystery of the western high Sierra.
“There is a perfect balance of misery and ecstasy in the mountains, and an inherent risk, the knowledge that the landscape is more powerful than you are. It is as though this mix of pain and pleasure is the only way to truly feel and experience it.”
- Elisa Johns
Elisa Johns is a Los Angeles based contemporary painter who received her MFA from the Claremont Graduate University, and her BFA from the University of California, San Diego. Johns was featured in the 2004 and 2007’s New American Paintings, in 2008 she was chosen to participate in LA. Potential, at Hangar 7, Salzburg, Austria. She has received critical acclaim from publications including White Hot Magazine, Beautiful/ Decay magazine, and in Art in America for her 2009 solo show at Walker Contemporary, Boston. Johns most recent solo shows include Devotion is Enough at Skew Gallery in Calgary and Huntress at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York.