The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, December 17, 2017

Photographer Simen Johan Explores Uneasy Connections Between Humans and Animals
Often showing wild animals in natural settings, Johan’s photographs may seem like National Geographic idylls writ gloriously large.

NASHVILLE, TENN.- The Frist Center’s Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery will feature Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes, comprising nine large-scale digital photographs and three sculptures. The exhibition opens Feb. 20, 2011, and will remain on view through May 29, 2011.

Often showing wild animals in natural settings, Johan’s photographs may seem like National Geographic idylls writ gloriously large. Yet while appearing to be straightforward documents of nature, the works have an underlying allegorical content. The majestic creatures seem to occupy the titular “kingdom,” an ideal place where desires will be fulfilled and life’s dilemmas resolved. But contained within each image are imperfections that bring this utopic implication back to reality. For every photograph of graceful creatures and pristine landscapes, there are portrayals of animals showing pain, fear or exhaustion in landscapes that are more desolate than beautiful. Johan explains that the title of the exhibition refers “less to the kingdoms of the bible and natural world, and more to the human fantasy that one day, in some way, life will come to a blissful resolution. The answers to who we are and what we’re doing in this world will come to light and validate our existence.” He acknowledges the paradox that while the belief in this more perfect place may be an illusion, it is still an indispensable aspect of human nature.

Johan uses digital technology to blur the boundaries between the real and the imagined. He photographs animals that live in zoos, farms, or nature preserves, or that have been taxidermied or found as road kill. These are situated in settings that seem variously primal in their beauty or post-apocalyptic in their evocation of a ruined land. None of the works depict people, but they contain parallels with human behavior or hints of human influence. We may think of a pair of foxes as husband and wife. Three large bears rooting through a garbage pile remind us of human wastefulness. A clash between enormous male moose could be reenacted on any Saturday night as two men fighting over a spilled beer or a desirable woman.

Similar echoes of human interaction are contained in Johan’s sculptures. These are made from taxidermied animals that have been altered into playful and disturbing constructions, which often feature small birds, foliage and insects living in the fur or feathers of the host animal. These mini-ecosystems reflect his observation that “in nature, there’s a lot of deception and wanting to be fabulous going on, belonging or not belonging, world making, nest making, parasitical situations, etc.” Although both his photographs and sculptures may seem to promise the final tranquility of Eden, Johan is ultimately concerned with capturing the paradoxical nature of life, which, in his words, offers “an emotion-driven experience, engulfed in uncertainty, desire and illusion.”

The artist will be on hand for an Artist’s Perspective at 6:30 p.m., Friday, March 4, 2011, in the Frist Center Auditorium. His lecture is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Simen Johan was born in Norway and raised in Sweden and earned his B.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York. His works have been exhibited internationally and are held in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Johan currently lives in New York and is represented by the Yossi Milo Gallery.

Today's News

February 20, 2011

Exhibition in Minnesota Brings to Life the Discovery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb

ArtScience Museum Designed by Architect Moshe Safdie Opens at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

The Football Match by L.S. Lowry is Expected to Realise in Excess of £3.5 Million at Christie's

A Game of Chess: Solo Exhibition of New Work by Marcel Dzama at David Zwirner

See the Beauty and Charm of The American Impressionists in the Garden at the Taft Museum of Art

Harmony of Form, Serenity of Color: A Private Collection of "Song" Ceramics At Sotheby's

Philadelphia Museum of Art Presents Survey of George Inness's Italian Landscapes

Ali and Elvis: Exhibition of American Icons at the James A. Michener Art Museum

Los Angeles-Based Artist Walead Beshty's "A Diagram of Forces" at Malmo Konsthall

Film, Two-Dimensional Images and the Structural Use of Color by Liz Larner at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Photographs by O. Winston Link Bring the Romance of Trains to Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Group Exhibition of New Paintings by Six Artists at Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art

New Exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Work at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art Opens New Laurelton Hall Galleries

Major Exhibition of Winnipeg Artist Wanda Koop Opens at the National Gallery of Canada

Photographer Simen Johan Explores Uneasy Connections Between Humans and Animals

Phillips de Pury & Company's Valencia Contemporary Art Collection Sale Totals $15,828,357

11 Architects Selected to Receive the 2011 American Institute of Architects' Young Architects Award

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- A petition decries 'suggestive' painting at New York's Met

2.- Leonardo Da Vinci sold for $450 million is headed to Louvre Abu Dhabi: Official

3.- Desperately seeking this Frida Kahlo painting. Last seen in Poland

4.- Lubaina Himid becomes oldest winner of United Kingdom's Turner Prize

5.- Two Gustav Klimt masterpieces on loan to the National Gallery of Canada

6.- Frick makes its most significant painting purchase in nearly 30 years

7.- Met Opera suspends Levine after sex abuse allegations

8.- Louvre launches appeal to acquire King François I's Book of Hours

9.- Smart-Guard, a new way to pack, ship and store fine art

10.- Save Venice Inc. restores Titian's Madonna di Ca' Pesaro

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