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Clay Johnson

1963 United States

7 Works exhibited

Current location

Laramie, Wyoming

Represented by

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  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae

Clay Johnson is an American abstract painter whose reductivist compositions explore the relationships between color, form, and texture. 
He lives and works in Laramie, Wyoming.


Education

Johnson earned his B.A. in studio art and art history from Duke University in 1985. 
Afterwards, he worked as studio manager for the painter Robert Natkin. Says Johnson, “Most of what I know about painting I learned from Bob.”


Technique

The technique Johnson employs is extremely rigorous, involving, as he says, “pushing paint around with palette knives and drywall tools rather than brushes.” 

The scraping and sanding creates a variety of different textures and leads to the emergence of unexpected forms. 

Because of the intensity of his method he prefers rigid surfaces, such as wood and aluminum panels, though he sometimes also works on paper and canvas stretched over panels. He prefers acrylic paint because of its fast drying time, which allows him to react quickly as the layers evolve towards a sense of completion.


Inspiration

Johnson has said he does not believe in inspiration. Instead, he believes in evolution. 

He is motivated by process. Rather than being planned ahead of time, the work emerges through a series of critical responses to previous decisions. He begins each painting by taping off one or more horizon lines. His initial color choice then guides the composition forward. Certain elements—a color, a line, a texture—are destroyed, while other elements incite unimagined discoveries. 

His intuition is guided by visceral reactions to the physical qualities of paint, the quest for pictorial balance, and the emergence of abstract relationships. The most important part of this process is editing. 
As Johnson says, “that narrative—the story of the painting’s own making—becomes the central subject. It’s this process of trial and error— the flawed execution of a perfect concept—that can make a few lines and rectangles so compelling.”


Relevant Quotes

Reviewing new paintings by Johnson in 2016, artist Camellia El-Antably wrote, “Layers of translucent acrylics build up a surface reminiscent of vintage and peeling paint...the colors are in sharply defined rows which bleed into each other without blurring the lines. The viewer may see horizon lines, or landscapes, or fields of color in harmony, or perhaps the sense of layers of dreams barely visible.”


Exhibitions

Johnson has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States. 


Collections

His work is in the collections of the Kimpton Corporation and the University of Wyoming Art Museum, among others.

Solo Exhibitions

2018 

New Paintings by Clay Johnson, George Billis Gallery, New York 

2017 

The Connected Edge, William Havu Gallery, Denver 

2016 

Wide Open: New Paintings by Clay Johnson, Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery, San Francisco 

2003 

Clay Johnson: New Paintings, District Fine Arts, Washington DC 

2002 

Clay Johnson: New Paintings, District Fine Arts, Washington DC

 

Group Exhibitions

2018 

Selected Abstracts, George Billis Gallery LA, Los Angeles 

Summer Group Show, George Billis Gallery, New York 

Art Market SF (Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery), San Francisco 

2017 

New Acquisitions, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie WY 

Art Market SF (Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery), San Francisco 

Art on Paper (Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery), New York 

2016 

ArtMarket Hamptons (Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery), Bridgehampton NY 

ArtMarket SF (Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery), San Francisco 

2015

Art Silicon Valley (Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery), San Mateo CA 

2004 

Art of the Twentieth Century (Samson Fine Arts), Park Avenue Armory, New York 

2002 

Gallery Artists, Samson Fine Arts, New York 

Poetic Minimalism, District Fine Arts, Washington DC 

Works on Paper (Samson Fine Arts), Park Avenue Armory, New York 

2001 

Gallery Artists, Samson Fine Arts, New York 

Works on Paper (Samson Fine Arts), Park Avenue Armory, New York 

2000 

Works on Paper (Samson Fine Arts), Park Avenue Armory, New York 

1999 

Small Works, District Fine Arts, Washington DC 

Talent 1999, New Artists/New Works, Samson Fine Arts, New York 

Works on Paper (Samson Fine Arts), Park Avenue Armory, New York

Works by Clay Johnson

Order by

2020

122 x 92 cm

7100,00 €

2020

91.5 x 91.5 cm

SOLD

2016

56 x 56 cm

2100,00 €

2016

56 x 56 cm

2100,00 €

2016

38 x 48 cm

1500,00 €

2018

76.5 x 56 cm

SOLD

2019

61 x 61 cm

SOLD

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