Sunday, April 01, 2012

Dion Johnson

Glider, 2011, acrylic and Flashe on canvas, 60 x 160 inches
My art review for a show in November

Marty Walker Gallery is nearly always on target with my taste and the exhibition of Dion Johnson's abstract paintings is no exception. I have been following this gallery from the night they opened their doors on Farrington Street and I have been impressed with the selection of artists in their stable and many of their group exhibitions.

Johnson’s work uses attractive bright colors and the shapes are smooth and organic. We can recognize a sophisticated abstract work through a combination of colors and his use of repetition without exactly repeating the shapes. Technique transference is often times another clue to a successful abstract work. Johnson manages to simulate this serigraphic method of color change by allowing colors to appear transparent and moving the colors through the objects.

The paintings have the illusion of motion through the use of simple curved pointed shaped ends. The rounded shapes drape down like curtains or stalactites in a cave. I like how your eye moves from top to bottom and back up again in rapid flowing successions. Another important connection to a good work is if the art has connections to past innovations. Johnson’s muses on past hard edge color field artists like Karl Benjamin and John McLaughlin, but with refreshingly less jazz or pure minimal quality.

Other reviews akin his work to music and I agree that the paintings have a movement that feels like notes being played. Johnson, however, is harmonizing with much more than simulation of another form. I think his abstract work reflects not just music, but sounds and rhythms of life and motion. I hear a more layered effect in these works like a music mixer sampling multiple tracks from all points of reality. See Dion Johnson’s exhibition, “New Paintings” at Marty Walker Gallery, which runs through November 12th
For more pictures of the show go to

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