The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ben Johnson Begins to Complete One of His Paintings in Public at the National Gallery
Ben Johnson in the residence studio at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool working on The Liverpool Cityscape. © Courtesy of Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool. Photo Simon Webb.All Rights Reserved DACS.

LONDON.- This autumn, to coincide with the Sainsbury Wing exhibition Venice: Canaletto and his Rivals, the National Gallery has invited contemporary artist Ben Johnson to display his work in an exhibition in Room 1. Ben Johnson paints the city, for very different reasons, and with very different outcomes. The display reveals his motivations and working processes – and his fascination with the legacy of Canaletto. In this display, Ben Johnson will be completing one of his paintings in public.

Following the example of Canaletto, Ben Johnson combines and manipulates different views to make paintings that are completely convincing. Along with large-scale cityscapes including depictions of London landmarks Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, preparatory drawings and photographs are shown that demonstrate how this artist produces such apparently realistic paintings with differing techniques and tools.

Ben Johnson is the only contemporary artist to be made an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1990) for his contribution to the public understanding of contemporary architecture.

For 'Modern Perspectives' Johnson is painting one of London’s most iconic locations – Trafalgar Square, looking down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament. Over several days he took hundreds of photographs from the roof of the National Gallery. On analysing one particular view through drawing, he noticed that the underlying geometry had a striking connection with the National Gallery’s Canaletto Stonemason’s Yard. Consequently, Johnson has based his 'Looking Back to Richmond House', 2010, on the rigorous geometric composition of Canaletto’s famous painting, with the bell tower corresponding to Nelson’s Column and the workmen’s shed to the buildings around Trafalgar Square. Like his Venetian predecessor, he subtly manipulates the topography to create an ‘ideal’ view.

Johnson’s paintings are produced with a spray gun and have their own particular quality, with no brush marks. He uses a complex process to prepare each part of the canvas, employing intricate line drawings from which vinyl stencils are produced, and the painting is made from a vast palette of carefully annotated hand-mixed paint.

Johnson will also be displaying 'Zurich Panorama', 2003 (private collection) and a painting that he completed in public: 'The Liverpool Cityscape', 2008 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool), his largest ever single canvas painting. The painting was completed with the help of eleven assistants, 700 colours and 22,950 stencils. This bird’s-eye view of the city takes in eight square kilometres from the docks to the countryside.

The Trafalgar Square painting will be unfinished when the display opens and will be completed in public, giving visitors an insight into the artist’s working methods. For Johnson, this public manifestation of a normally private activity will be a literally ‘vital’ part of the process. He hopes that, as in Liverpool, it will serve as a demonstration that the work is a product of the imagination realised through craft. Johnson’s cityscapes constitute not only a celebration of the topography of the city but also a re-presentation of the familiar in an unfamiliar way which returns the viewer to the present and the actual.

Neither artist considers himself a ‘photo-realist’. For Clive Head, photography documents his experience and brings visual data to his studio. For Ben Johnson, photography is but one small stage of the process. Johnson’s city views are dream views devoid of people and traffic while Head’s depict the goings-on of everyday life. Both artists will demonstrate how the subject of cityscape is still being embraced by modern artists who are responding both to the contemporary world and to the Old Masters in the National Gallery’s collection.

National Gallery | Ben Johnson | London |

Today's News

December 9, 2010

Sotheby's Evening Sale of Old Master & British Paintings Realises $37,054,556

17th-Century Spanish Sculpture, by Juan Martínez Montañés, Acquired by the Toledo Museum of Art

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange "Man of the Year" in Naples Nativity Creches

Art Institute of Chicago Announces Major Acquisition of an Early 17th Century Painting

In Time for the Holidays, Christie's Launches Free App Optimized for the iPAD

Controversial Video by David Wojnarowicz "A Fire in My Belly" on View at the New Museum

Bonhams Sell 38 Pieces of Fine Meissen Porcelain that Survived the 1945 Dresden Bombing for £500,000

Garry Gross, the New York Photographer of Young, Nude Brooke Shields Dies

Recently Acquired Peformance Art Piece by Allora & Calzadilla Debuts at MoMA

Ben Johnson Begins to Complete One of His Paintings in Public at the National Gallery

Sotheby's Smashes World Record for Any Piece of English Furniture Sold at Auction

Getty Museum Displays a Selection of Chinese Photographs Produced Since the 1990s

Bonhams to Sell Archibald Thorburn Masterpiece Entitled 'The Covey at Daybreak'

Ambika P3 Presents Terry Flaxton: High Resolution Moving Image Works

Sharjah Art Foundation Announces Artists and Participants of the 2011 Sharjah Biennial

Centre D'Art Contemporain Presents Image Mouvements

Art Gallery of Alberta Announces Winning Project in Sculpture Commission

The Hirshhorn Launches ARTLAB+ Digital Technology and Innovative Approaches Are Key

Parasol Unit Presents Exhibition Dedicated to the Work of Emerging British Artist Nathan Cash Davidson

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- John Surtees' one-owner 1957 BMW 507 to be offered for the first time at Bonhams Festival of Speed sale

2.- Antiques looted in Libya by IS sold in Spain, two experts arrested

3.- The world's oldest bridge to be preserved by the British Museum's Iraq Scheme

4.- Exquisite jewels dazzle in historic Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia

5.- Now showing in US cinemas: "Hitler VS Picasso and The Others" directed by Claudio Poli

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art returns stolen idols to Nepal

7.- Glasgow starts a year of celebration as Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition opens

8.- Very rare Qing Dynasty bowl sells for $30.4 million

9.- Gardner Museum publishes "Stolen" book about 13 works in 1990 theft

10.- Royal Ontario Museum announces appointment of Curator, Islamic Art & Culture

Related Stories

Exhibition of works from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection opens in Edinburgh

Michelangelo's David-Apollo returns to the National Gallery of Art in Washington

Art historian Philipp Demandt becomes new head of the Old National Gallery in Berlin

Photographer Harry Callahan centennial celebrated at the National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Victoria opens exhibition by the founding artists of the Western Desert art movement

National Gallery of Art launches second edition of the Gemini G.E.L. Online Catalogue Raisonné

National Gallery Opens Exhibition by One of the Most Versatile Artists of the Renaissance

Views of Venice by Canaletto and His Rivals in Landmark Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art

The Spirit, Colour and Vitality of the Ballets Russes Brought to Life at the National Gallery of Australia

Donation Agreement for the Pietzsch Collection Signed at the National Gallery in Berlin

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful