Home Artworks Untitled (#706)

Untitled (#706) Kooness
1567.9422997234 EUR

Untitled (#706)




40.6 x 50.8 cm
15.98 x 20 in








1963 , United States

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.


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.”


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.


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.”


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


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

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40.64 x 40.64 cm