Minimal. Contrastable. Impressionistic. These are a just a few adjectives journalists use to describe the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ alumnus, Geoffrey Johnson. His use of muted, black and white tones emphasize the intensity of the scene in which he is trying to depict through a simplified, yet strategic gesture.
Inspired by his travels and first-hand observations, Johnson utilizes his surroundings as the subjects for his paintings, most notably those seen in New York. Having traveled from Philadelphia to New York during his studies, the artist concentrated his practice on expressing the high-energy of city living. The loosely painted figures and forms reflect the distancing, anonymous effect caused by a heavily trafficked environment. To this end, the lack of color and indiscernible objects reinforce the intensity of movement, anonymity, and busyness of Johnson’s scenes.
Johnson has made it a point to refrain from such exuberant colors to just these few, for it gives the appropriate mood of a cityscape. By eliminating flamboyant colors, it amplifies the anonymity and aesthetic when en masse.
“It doesn’t call for color. A limited palette brings more of the mood of the city out to me. More of how I feel about it.” – Geoffrey Johnson
Though this may be the highlight of his paintings, the intricacies of his deliberate strokes call for close inspection as well. These intentionally, loosely painted scenes invite the viewer for a closer look, creating an ironic interplay of the unidentifiable becoming identified.
Apart from composition, Johnson’s wonderfully crafted paintings have been exhibited in galleries across the United States, showing in both private and public collections such as those of Turner Broadcasting and Coca-Cola. He has also won countless awards and prizes for his artistic excellence of his timeless paintings.
Now that you know a little more about Geoffrey Johnson and his work, come by the gallery tonight at 6:30PM to meet the artist himself! His solo exhibition will be opening tonight and will remain on display until June 3rd. Click this link to see the works currently available!
Featured image in headline: Geoffrey Johnson, “Study Horses No. 10,” 17×31, oil on panel