Paintings From A Room
Mindy Solomon is pleased to present the 3rd solo exhibition of painter Ezra Johnson, Paintings from a Room. Drawing from a long tradition of still life painting Johnson elevates the mundane to a subject worthy of contemplation. Utilizing his well-honed painting skills and his sharp eye for identifying beauty, Johnson assembles a body of work that gives voice to a year in repose.
Johnson states: “My paintings combine two different approaches- working from observation while also working from my imagination. An emphasis is placed on interior spaces, using rooms as stages for contrasting elements, interior and exterior light, contrasts between objects and figures framed within the straight lines of the architecture. I aim to create spaces that are both carefully observed and at times distorted, depicting the rooms my family and I spend much of our time, lit by windows that allow the impression of an abstracted tree scape in the distance or a neighbor’s fence. A table where meals are served doubles as an office. My wife and son, and our two cats inhabit these spaces and they naturally find their way into the paintings as well.”
A flattened sense of perspective combined with a geometric representation of light and shadow informs much of the work. This flat surface belies the painterly application of color that appears to dance across the forms- particularly figures. Simplistic marks create objects that appear to be in motion- a nod to Johnson’s background in film making and stop action animation. The use of pattern to create a decorative visual element as well as a sense of space enhance the picture plane.
“I have always admired the early Modernists for their ability to make epic paintings of simple or intimate subjects. Cezanne, Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, Van Gogh; these artists offer a mythical backdrop for my endeavors. Their works functioning as both a role model and an impossible goal of abstracted representation.”
Johnson reflects: “These paintings were created during the year of Covid-19 and represent a looking closer to home for subjects than I have in past bodies of work. In my previous exhibition at the gallery, I created a series of still lives depicting trash gathered from the Hillsborough River. For this new group of paintings, I didn’t even need to leave the house.”
About Ezra Johnson
Ezra Johnson is a painter whose work explores territories that include collage, sculpture and video; often at the same time. He received an MFA in Painting from Hunter College in New York in 2006, has been invited to several residencies including Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and The Marie Walsch Sharpe Foundation in Brooklyn NY. Johnson has exhibited his work at galleries and museums nationally and internationally including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Site Santa Fe in New Mexico, the ICA in Philadelphia, DIA Center for the Arts in NYC, Lismore Castle in Ireland, Galleria F15 in Norway as well as many others.
Currently Johnson is preparing for solo projects at the New York (NADA) Frieze art fair, and at Freight and Volume gallery in NYC: as well as group exhibitions at the Orlando Museum of Art and, CArD Contemporary Art & Design exhibition in Pianello Italy, organized by Paolo Baldacci.