Wed 29 Mar 2023 to Sat 13 May 2023
Artist: Dion Johnson
L.A. Louver presents Color Play, a Rogue Wave exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles based artist Dion Johnson. A coalescence of ideas and techniques developed over years of observation and painting, Dion Johnson: Color Play conjures mesmerizing vistas, layered temporalities, and affective experiences.
Added to list
Painted with acrylic on canvas and ranging in size from 32 x 36 in. (81.3 x 91.4 cm) to 60 x 72 in. (152.4 x 182.9 cm), Johnson’s works communicate through immediate sensation. Akin to romantic landscapes, the compositions summon emotional responses through sublime and atmospheric expansiveness, expressed by gradient color fields and cascading bands of light. Inspired by the natural world, his paintings reproduce the effects of light shifting, focusing on a spiritual in-betweenness.
Johnson’s paintings orient themselves on vertical axes as opposed to traditional horizon lines, situating the viewer in an imaginative place between fantasy and reality; an impression heightened by Johnson’s striking synthetic color choices and strict delineations. The aspects of orientation, line, and hue in combination with the artist’s careful attention to the proximity of shapes, manipulate time through calculated relationships between color and space.
Building on the conceptual developments of Paul Klee’s musical demarcations, Johnson’s paintings are like songs, chronicling activity. The color palettes in each artwork act as scales, his gradients the swelling crescendo and falling decrescendo, his compositions progressions between dissonance and consonance. Two paintings, Red Rhythm (2023) – full of intense and generous rouge – and Dawn Chorus (2023) –an amalgam of violet– verify this synesthetic connection between sonic composition and visual form, affirmed by their titles.
Where works like Red Rhythm and Dawn Chorus concentrate on an experiential feeling, others are more narrative. ForceField (2023) presents an energetic science fiction scene of magnetic movement interposed with gravitational drops of purple, a shape only recently developed by Johnson. Diver (2023) evokes a more intimate story of diving into the ocean and the sensations of warm and cold currents through different values of blue.
Color Play represents the gamut of multisensorial experiences enjoyed in the presence of Johnson’s art. The sensations of touch through implied texture, temperature and emotion through color, and sound through intentional composition are all present in this exhibition. Merging atmospheric romanticism, hard edge painting forms, and light and space philosophies, Johnson’s paintings give form to abstract universal experiences that rarely find material expression.
Dion Johnson is based in Los Angeles, California. Born in 1975 in Bellaire, Ohio, he attended Yale Norfolk Summer School of Music and Art, received his BFA from The Ohio State University and his MFA from Claremont Graduate University. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA; Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, CA; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Twitter Inc., Santa Monica, CA; Capital Group Companies, Los Angeles, CA; and Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH, among others. Johnson’s work has been reviewed and featured in the Los Angeles Times, Artforum, Artnews, HuffPost, Artillery, Art and Cake, and The New York Times.