NEW YORK, NY.- Stephen Haller Gallery
presents GREGORY JOHNSTON: XV, new paintings of the artist's signature style: suggestions of calligraphic gestures (described by critic George Melrod as "icons of textual beauty") within a canvas divided into formal, almost architectural drawing. The exhibition opened February 24th and runs through April 2nd.
These new paintings deal with familiar aspects of Johnstons practice: raw pigments in earth tones suspended in amber Alkyd varnish: ethereal grounds that suspend overlays of formal architectural elements. In this series Johnston also explores new found philosophical approaches to picture-making based primarily on his reading of the writings of Maurice Nicoll, particularly his Invisibility of Oneself.
Johnston strives to transform the two dimensional plane of canvas to one of multidimensional depth. His focal element begins in a central window of two dimensionality, a forced frontal order in the picture. This angularity is then repeated, but is challenged by the strong gestural component of his painting. It is the tension between these two distinct elements that lends dynamism to Johnstons work.
Johnston creates pictures within pictures and achieves dimensionality through layers and composition. The hint of an image appears to surface through translucent color, and Johnston is a superb colorist. There is a mysterious luminosity in Johnstons work; his paintings are noted for their lush, gorgeous surfaces.
The essence of Johnstons practice is the dynamism between the strong gestural component and the geometric aspects of the work. This new series of paintings represents the maturing work of an artist The Wall Street Journal heralded as one of the emerging success stories of his generation.