Barry Johnson lives in Portland, Oregon and has exhibited widely from New York City to the West Coast. He has returned to the Pacific Northwest after living in New York City for 13 years. He has exhibited with various galleries and at MOMA/PS1 Museum and The New Museum in New York as well as the Portland Art Museum. He was the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Oregon Arts Commission and awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship for the Arts. Works are represented in private and public collections such as United States Government, New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City and The City of Portland, Oregon.
Words that I would associate with my art might be: discovery, intrigue, disciplined chaos, elaborate process, connections, structural metaphors, and color moods, light as art, visual poetry, potentials, contradictions, ambiguity and clarity…
The focus of my recent work addresses the potential relationships between elaborate geometric forms and dense color fields. The work consists of painting, sculpture and large-scale installations. Inspiration for much of the subject matter comes from observing the intriguing connections of forms and colors discovered through focused observation and process. A wide range of techniques and materials are used to explore the potential relationships of these changes as forms and color relationships are developed.
The paintings explore relationships discovered as the forms are created thus avoiding a “pre-designed” sensibility. The installation work addresses associations between sculptural forms (often utilizing vaguely familiar archetypes), drawings on walls, designed lighting techniques and the shadow forms that are created during the installation process.
As my work evolves I see a growing harmony between the paintings and the sculpture. One form speaks of another; sculpture speaks of forms in the paintings, while each explores my interests in their separate language. Given that everything is potential subject matter and all materials and processes are potential mediums, I am constantly redefining my process of expression.
This philosophy keeps my perspective of the art process alive and evolving.