Dion Johnson: New Paintings
Western Project is proud to present new paintings by Los Angeles artist, Dion Johnson. Using bold planes of color, Johnson reaffirms the tradition of Southern California hard edge painting for this millennium. Aware of predecessors such as Karl Benjamin, and John McLaughlin, and their interest in landscape and the environment, the artist moves hard edge towards a more Pop language; flat planes of intense color merging and moving against another, shifting stratas of atmosphere and light echo the intersections of urban culture and nature. His influences are historic, from Matisse to Howard Hodgkin to Jeremy Blake’s videos. Los Angeles’ miasma of roadside billboards and architecture inspire his use of commercial color, blending the synthetic cityscape into abstract forms; our social artifice transformed in to an optical aesthetic. The paintings are composed on the computer and conversely drawn and made by hand. His flat radiant colors recall the 1960’s work of Lorser Feitelson and many of Johnson’s dynamic compositions bring to mind Morris Louis’ pour paintings from the same era. Most profoundly, Johnson’s use of color exemplifies the sensation of life in Southern California; an eternal summer, not as cliché, but as experience; a vivid clarity, a richness of life, a balance of sweet and sour, in complete abundance.
Johnson has shown at the Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Columbus, Stephen Stux Gallery, New York, Carl Berg Gallery and Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles, James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe, Torrance Art Museum, and other galleries and museums across the US.