Cold War Photomontages
Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Cold War Photomontages, a solo exhibition by Vincent Johnson. Johnson's work is a form of sustained cultural mining that engages both significant and neglected historical and contemporary cultural artifacts and is based on an intensive research of his subjects. Recent photographic works delved into architecture as fantasy, from the vernacular architecture of Los Angeles to that found throughout the American West. He has documented several of the no longer extant commercial vernacular structures in both South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley that came into existence during the birth of long distance family travel by car.
Johnson's newest photographic works, presented in the Back Room at Las Cienegas Projects, are large-scale photographic montages, each of which confronts significant cultural figures and several dramatic signal events of Cold War era Western cultural history, including the advent of television, the launch of Sputnik and the Soviet space program, the American home-based bomb shelter program, and the war in Vietnam. Gathering hundreds of found images from online sources, Johnson selects, juxtaposes and shifts in scale those images which best index the particular moment, personage or event. A series of contrasting and rewarding visual modulations results in a flood of historical information, becoming a rigorous and relentlessly informative yet also poetic record. Considering his use of found photography as a game that investigates both spoken and quiet language systems, Johnson also places emphasis on the human connection present in the work--that of the original photographer.
Vincent Johnson's work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally including at LAXART, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the P.S. 1. Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the SK Stiftung, Cologne, the Adamski Gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen, the Studio Museum in Harlem, 18th Street Arts, Santa Monica and the Boston University Art Gallery. Johnson received an MFA from Art Center College of Design in 1997 and BFA in Painting with studies in Avant-Garde Film History from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. He lives and works in Los Angeles.