The October Paintings

October Painting 1 and 2, Los Angeles, California by Vincent Johnson

The October Painting 1 and 2, underpainting stage,  Los Angeles, California by Vincent Johnson

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First stage of blue (Payne’s Grey) underpainting.

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The most recently completed work in The October Paintings suite. This particular work was painted over completely in three different directions, plus a ghostly layer in between was added. I was listening to an audiotape on German art history while making the work. This painting challenged me over and again against earlier selves. I continued to add additional layers and work the canvas, forcing it to meld and produce astonishing bands of color. Yet I did not want it to be like or look like the previous work I had just made. I don’t know if I should be making notes on how each work differs from the next; I guess I’m counting my memory of making each one and looking into each work to see where and how they vary in conception, production, style, layering. brushstroke, rag work.

Its still cool in the morning, dew on the grass. The sun is slow to rise before it spreads its wonderful light over my back yard studio.

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The October Paintings - numbers 3 and 4

The October Paintings – numbers 3 and 4 – The October Paintings (a new paintings project by Los Angeles based artist Vincent Johnson) – the paintings are at the underpainting stage. They will be allowed to dry in my studio and then a layer of white glaze will be added. That will dry. Then I will work on each work, layer by layer, allowing each layer to dry, or be worked or added to as I desire. Our car Roxy is in the background, her back arched as she defies a mushroom to move.

October Paintings 3 and 4 - three of three

The October Paintings (a new paintings project by Los Angeles based artist Vincent Johnson) – paintings 3 and 4. Taking advantage of the fabulous weather in LA.

October Paintings 3 and 4 - two of three

The October Paintings – paintings 1 and 2 (a new paintings project by Los Angeles based artist Vincent Johnson) – with our cat Roxy playing in the back yard.

October Paintings 5 and 6, underpainted on October 31, 2013. Van Nuys, CA

October Paintings 5 and 6, underpainting – layer one – October 31, 2013. Van Nuys, CA

October Paintings 5 and 6.on 11.01.13 no .3 October Paintings 5 and 6.on 11.01.13

The October Paintings, 2013, under painting layers, Los Angeles, California, by Vincent Johnson

The October Paintings, 2013, paintings one and two, under painting layers, Los Angeles, California, by Vincent Johnson

The October Paintings (a new paintings project by Los Angeles based artist Vincent Johnson)

The October Paintings – paintings one and two (a new paintings project by Los Angeles based artist Vincent Johnson)

Welcome to the Post Conceptual Artist Paintings of Vincent Galen Johnson in Los Angeles.

I am painting in my back yard studio that is about 3,000 square feet. It has a concrete patio where I work and three concrete block walls where I can lay my work on  and look at recently made work while creating new paintings.

The October Paintings are comprised of nine 4×4 foot oil on canvas paintings. These are the largest canvases I’ve worked on since my return to painting after two decades of working with photography. I was trained as a representational painter at Pratt Institute and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My graduate degree is in critical theory and painting from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. The works are a continuation of my exploration of the history of art materials, combined with using the layering techniques of representation to create singular new abstractions. This is my first time working on several large-scale canvases at once. What I’ve noticed over the years is that every significant work I’ve made eventually finds its way into the world, often through unanticipated opportunity.  The works are visceral, visually rich, emotively engaging. They follow the six large-scale paintings in the COSMOS SUITE that is also ongoing and was started in 2012, and the NINE GRAYSCALE PAINTINGS in LOS ANGELES that I completed in 2011. In my work I have always sought to reach for and produce imagery that lends itself to a serious consideration of the ideas that come to the mind when approaching the image. For me these works seek to substantiate themselves in the world, to be both evocative and provocative, beautiful and remarkable in both concept and realization. As these works are fully developed I will continue to record the journey am taken on with them, until they are complete.

OCTOBER PAINTING - Scumble glazing, second phase of the paintings.

OCTOBER PAINTING – Scumble glazing, second phase of the paintings.

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October Paintings – scumble glazed and drying in studio.

During the scumble glazing layer of the painting, where I knock down the underpainting colors so that the next layers can deliver a fabulous punch, I thought about the magnificient, enormous paintings I saw this summer at the Menil Collection in Houston, by Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko. The high seriousness of Rothko’s chapel paintings was amazing. Yet on that day it would be my discovery of the excellence of Cy Twombly as a painter of the primordial and playful sublime that captivated my attention in his purpose built stand alone large gallery space that showcased his work far beyond the circular swirls I know but care nothing for at all. It seems that when Twombly switched to specific subject matter – whether it be abstract landscape paintings, where he had simply marvelous deep rich green works, or his overall giant abstractions, filled with playful and powerful singular and exciting moments, both satisfied in wonderful ways. I was fortunate to make two trips to Houston this summer. The Late Byzantine to Today was a marvel to behold; I also had no idea that the Menil is a world class repository of Surrealist art. I was also privileged to see the James Turrell retrospective at the MFA Houston, which itself will be expanding soon with a major new building devoted to modern and contemporary art. The Menil Collection itself will be adding seven new individual artist showcase galleries, which combined with their traveling shows will make Houston as important a center for seeing art as anywhere in the US outside of New York. I am looking at the nine 4×4 foot October paintings in my studio. Its the largest body of work I have ever produced as a painter. I can see so many possibilities in this new direction. It gives me reason to continue to push to get my work into the world, despite all of the difficulties I have experienced. Painting makes me see beyond my own being.

Vincent Johnson

Los Angeles, CA

Vincent Galen Johnson new paintings - outdoor studio Los Angeles - 1

Vincent Galen Johnson – The October Paintings – outdoor studio Los Angeles

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Just added this final layer of paint to this painting. Now its ready. by Vincent Johnson 2014

The October Paintings in Los Angeles, 2014, painted and written by Los Angeles based painter and writer Vincent Galen Johnson.

My journey into painting has never ended, only paused during the many years my primary artistic practice moved from painting to writing, then to photography and writing. I’ve never stopped looking at painting. I went to London over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2011 to see the Gerhard Richter retrospective. It was strange to see a photorealist painter realize the power of paint being managed through sheer process and to create astonishing images of such subtle yet shocking beauty. While in London I took in a full day visit to the National Gallery, where I was swept away by such a superb landscape painting by Constable. I felt as if I were seeing an apparition as the leafy structure that represented part of a tree seemed to extend from the canvas into the gallery space. I also recall seeing Sigmar Polke, Anselm Kiefer, Eric Fischl and David Salle ‘s paintings from the 1980’s from those magnificent shows on West Broadway in Soho. Of late I’ve become a fan of Beatriz Milhaze, Nicole Eisenman, Henry Taylor, and have for years followed the work of Kerry James Marshall. Now I feel I need to feed my mind on as many superior painted pictures as I can devour.

Anselm Kiefer painting show in Antwerp

Gerhart Richter painting

This is the third year since I began painting again after two decades of making photographic works and writing in Los Angeles. Paint is a remarkable material in which to work. It offers seemingly an infinite number of ways of working the canvas, from application to scraping off even week old paint, to rubbing and applying several more layers with brushes, rags, and painting knives. It took me a while to allow myself to work abstractly. I still have about five unfinished paintings that I started in 2005 based on architectural vistas from my imagination, and they remain in my art storage, and one is in my studio, still unfinished. So its not totally true that I first started painting again in 2011; it was actually in 2005, but I gave up after a couple of months and put those canvases away for a future time. Its the sheer malleability of paint that drives me to work with it today, and its film-like capacity to be overlaid and yet see what’s underneath that enthralls. So far each of my paintings is abstract yet I continue to study the history of materials of artists as well as making my own multiple experiments on each new canvas. Some of my works have as many as a dozen layers and overlays of paint. Each one seems to inform the other as to the next possible direction to start in and then to build up to in terms of sheer quality of paint handling, image power,  and fulfillment of the mind through the eyes. Its a richly rewarding feeling to be making this new work after so many years, and to see where I had left off as a painter two decades ago. And then to see where I’ve come along since that time, using all of the tools and skills learned in Brooklyn and Chicago many years ago in school.

A painting by Nicole Eisenman
A painting by LA painter Henry Taylor.
A suite of paintings by Sigmar Polke

Painting outdoors in the California sun has been a revelation. I can allow my paintings to dry in the sun. Then store them at night in my art storage. Then bring them out again to look at in the proud light of the morning, and sit and walk among them, and think about what is the next step for each of those that are yet to be complete. Having the sky as my ceiling has been amazing, and having so much space in which to operate has unleashed so many great ideas about the direction to take my work, as I can sit the paintings in my outdoor studio and relish them in the warmth of a February day in Southern California. Next I’ll be working on a few dozen much smaller canvases, then returning to the larger 4 by 4 foot canvases. This post has been my afternoon break to record where I am with my new work.

It makes me happy to be painting again, in California.

Vincent Galen Johnson

Los Angeles

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The October Paintings by Vincent Galen Johnson in Los Angeles, March 2014

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This painting was layered with paint over several days, then scraped out with the excess paint allowed to dangle from the area of the canvas where it had been cut away. The painting now has a sculptural element of pure paint hanging from its several lawyers beneath.

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The painting on the far right was transformed with gold, blue and grey paint this evening. See the final above.

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This canvas was handled completely differently from most of the others and has a final overlay of paint that creates the image of a colorful chalk board.

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A thick impasto of dazzling color was spread with a painting knife across the canvas. in waves, in this painting.

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The painting to the left reminds me of photos of sunbursts.

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My outdoor painting studio.

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My painting studio set up.

Vincent Johnson: CV
Vincent Johnson received his MFA in Fine Art Painting from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California 1997 and his BFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was selected for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 for the Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America and Art Slant, and in over fifty different publications in total. His works were shown in the inaugural Pulse Fair Los Angeles. He has shown recently at Soho House (curated by ForYourArt, Los Angeles) and at Palihouse (curated by Los Angeles Nomadic Division), West Hollywood, and most recently at Another Year in LA gallery, West Hollywood. Johnson’s work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Studio Museum in Harlem (Freestyle (2001, The Philosophy of Time Travel, 2007, and The Bearden Project, 2011-2012); PS1 Museum, New York; the SK Stiftung, Cologne; Santa Monica Museum of Art, LAXART; Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles; Boston University Art Museum; Kellogg Museum, Cal Poly Pomona; Adamski gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen; Lemonsky Projects, Miami. Johnson’s work has been published in a dozen exhibition catalogs. His work was exhibited in the inaugural Open Project exhibition at the Palace of the Inquisition, Evora, Portugal, July – October, 2013 and at Another Year in LA gallery, West Hollywood.

Vincent Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He is a work member of THE WINTER OFFICE, Copenhagen. THE WINTER OFFICE upholds a creative strategy concerned with defining an intersection between art, architecture and design.

Vincent Johnson: CV

Vincent Johnson received his MFA in Fine Art Painting from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California 1997 and his BFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was selected for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 for the Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America and Art Slant, and in over fifty differen publications in total. His photographic works were shown in the inaugural Pulse Fair Los Angeles. He has shown recently at Soho House (curated by ForYourArt, Los Angeles) and at Palihouse (curated by Los Angeles Nomadic Division), West Hollywood, and most recently in Photography 2013 at Another Year in LA gallery, West Hollywood. Johnson’s work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Studio Museum in Harlem (Freestyle (2001, The Philosophy of Time Travel, 2007, and The Bearden Project, 2011-2012), PS1 Museum, SK Stiftung, Cologne; Santa Monica Museum of Art, LAXART, Las Cienegas Projects; Boston University Art Museum; Kellogg Museum, Cal Poly Pomona; Adamski gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen; Lemonsky Projects, Miami. His work has been published in over a dozen exhibition catalogs. He is currently working on a series of self published photography books that will focus on the U.S. cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Ohio, Miami, Florida and New Orleans. Johnson is also creating abstract paintings for his Cosmos Suite, that explores the practice of painting with the knowledge of historical painting practices. He is using the techniques of representation to create remarkable works of abstract art. At Beacon Arts Center, Los Angeles, he recently exhibited an entire suite of grayscale paintings. In the Spring of 2013, he exhibited a series of edgy photographic works at Another Year in LA gallery, West Hollywood, California. His work will be exhibited in the inaugural Open Project exhibition at the Palace of the Inquisition, Evora, Portugal, opening July 15, 2013.

Vincent Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

vincentjohnsonart@gmail.com

http://www.vincentjohnsonart.com

New Abstract Paintings: The Cosmos Suite 2012-2013

Hello

This is Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles.

Here are three new paintings are added to my Cosmos Suite of paintings 2.24.2013. These are the 7th, 8th and 9th paintings created in the Cosmos Suite. They are also the 4th, 5th and 6th large scale paintings in this body of work.

These Cosmos Suite paintings are created using various experiments in media and paint application. Johnson has done substantial research into the area of the history of painting materials and there use, and employs this knowledge in the production of his work.

There are now a total of nine paintings in the Cosmos Suite. Six of the nine paintings are thirty by forty inches in size. Three of the paintings – the originals in the suite, are twenty by twenty four inches in size. Each painting takes about a month to create as there is a three week drying time between the first and second layers of the painting. As the suite grows there will be additional sizes including larger works.

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Cosmos Suite: A Meeting Between Two Figures in Space

30×40 inches, oil on canvas by Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles (2013)

Poured Liquin in center of painting, added stripes of pure paint color to canvas, mixed with paint rags, dabbed till thick paint areas are leveled out.

Large areas of vertical yellow in painting. Layered canvas in thick paint in certain areas. Reminds me of seeing Gerhard Richter’s painting retrospective in London in the fall of 2011.

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Cosmos Suite: State and Grace

30×40 inches, oil on canvas by Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles

Used sponges on face of painting. Layered canvas in thick paint.

Poured Liquin in center of painting, added stripes of pure paint color to canvas, mixed with paint rags, dabbed till thick paint areas are leveled out.
Reminds me of Florida’s mysterious beauty

Shape is of Florida in part

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Cosmos Suite: State and Grace – final – complete 2.25.2013

30×40 inches, oil on canvas by Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles (2013)

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Cosmos Suite: State and Grace – final – complete 2.25.2013

30×40 inches, oil on canvas by Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles (2013)

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 Cosmos Suite: Astral Melodies
30×40 inches, oil on canvas by Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles (2013)

used sponges on side and surface of the painting. used large brushwork. Layered canvas in paint.

Poured Liquin in between stripes of pure paint color to canvas, mixed with paint rags, dabbed till thick paint areas are leveled out. Started out with thick brush in corner to mix, abandoned this quickly.

Sensing jazz standards here – floating fields of opulent pure romantic color

Vincent Johnson received his MFA in Fine Art Painting from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California 1997 and his BFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was selected for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 for the Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art Slant and many other publications. His photographic works were most recently shown in the inaugural Pulse Fair Los Angeles. His most recent paintings were shown at the Beacon Arts Center in Los Angeles. His 2010 photo project – California Toilet, Filthy Light Switch, is in exhibition at Another Year in LA gallery in West Hollywood through early March 2013. His work has appeared in several venues, including The Studio Museum in Harlem (Freestyle (2001, The Philosophy of Time Travel, 2007, and The Bearden Project, 2011-2012), PS1 Museum, Queens, NY, SK Stiftung, Cologne, Germany, Santa Monica Museum of Art, LAXART, Las Cienegas Projects, Boston University Art Museum, Kellogg Museum, Cal Poly Pomona.
Below are some of the other paintings I have completed since returning to painting in the summer of 2011.
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Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

New Abstract Paintings: The Cosmos suite (2012)

Golden Dream (2012), part of the Cosmos Suite of paintings

California Toilet, Filthy Light Switch (2010) by Vincent Johnson. Archival Epson print (Private Collection, Miami, Florida). I provided this image as I realized its clear similarity to Golden Dream, which I completed a week ago in my studio in Los Angeles.

Two at Night (2012) from the Cosmos suite of paintings, Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches

Cosmos. Oil on canvas  2012 by Vincent Johnson

Cosmos Red Yellow Green. Oil on canvas 2012 by Vincent Johnson

Green God. Oil on canvas 2012 by Vincent Johnson

This new painting series is part of my ongoing exploration of painting materials and techniques from the history of painting. The works combine knowledge of painting practices of both abstract and representation paintings. The works concern themselves purely with the visual power that paintings can do through the manipulation of paint. Some of the underpaintings are allowed to dry for months; some of those are built dark to light, others light to dark. None are made in a single setting. Most are worked and reworked using studio materials. Each new series takes a different approach to the painted surface from how the paint is applied, to varying the painting mediums. This suite concerns itself with the layering of paint by building up the surface and altering and reworking the wet paint with studio tools.

Two larger paintings will be completed and photographed on Sunday, July 15, 2012 and posted here.

Vincent Johnson, Grayscale painting: The Storm (2012). Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, created in studio in Los Angeles, California

Vincent Johnson, Grayscale painting, Snow White/White Snow (2012). Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, created in studio in Los Angeles

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

Vincent Johnson, Nine Grayscale Paintings, Beacon Arts Center, Los Angeles, (2001). Oil on canvas. Each panel is 20×24 inches.
photograph of silver paint on my hands in studio, Los Angeles, during the creation of Nine Grayscale paintings.
Vincent Johnson – in Los Angeles studio working on Nine Grayscale Paintings, 2011

Vincent Johnson

Los Angeles, California

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