The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Matt Johnson’s second solo show at Alison Jacques Gallery opens in London
Baby Dinosaur (Apatosaurus), 2013. Salvaged old growth redwood, and stainless steel, 294.6 x 513.1 x 121.9 cm; 116 x 202 x 48 ins. Unique. ©the Artist. Courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery, London. Photo: Michael Brzezinski.
LONDON.- Matt Johnson’s second solo show at Alison Jacques Gallery is alive with plays on materials and fusions of physical and subject matter, but its overriding premise is decidedly simple: Time. Whether working with recycled old-growth redwood, carving million-year-old granite, or casting bronze to resemble fresh Styrofoam, this body of works is imbued with a curious combination of excavating the new while reanimating the ancient.

Johnson’s sculptures have always been marked by a restless nature, one that exhibits an ongoing struggle to bridge a conversation between the present and the past. This is evident through his use of references to canonical classical sculpture where traditional sculptural materials and those in their natural form are sifted through a contemporary lens. Not only does his work point to the origins of what it means to make a sculpture in the 21st Century – to put one rock on top of another, to approach an understanding of human knowledge by pointing to metaphors between meaning and material – but there persists in it a questioning of what one may learn from a collective history of research, trial and error, poetry and imagination.

In the main gallery space Johnson has created a sixteen-foot long, almost ten-foot tall model of an Apatosaurus dinosaur in sections of salvaged old-growth Californian redwood, which, crucially to the artist, is one of the contemporary subspecies of trees that coexisted with dinosaurs. The figure looms down at you but, however dramatic its large frame, it is unthreatening: a scaling up of the kind of children’s flatpack puzzle one finds in museum gift shops and enlarged to the approximate scale of a baby dinosaur.

In the adjacent room the artist’s battered old yellow bicycle appears to have sunken into a rock. This ostensibly impossible embedding represents a material infusion – a warping of metal and ancient Arizona granite that through some time-accelerated osmosis have taken on each other’s positions in space and time. Granite appears elsewhere in the show, in the form of a 16-inch carved nose that appears to be the missing relic of a colossal figure. Johnson carved the nose from a granite stone leaving the backside raw and uncarved, implying this feature was broken off. Lichen appears to have taken growth on the raw stone, suggesting this was no recent severing.

Johnson’s invested research in sculpture of the past finds its latest incarnations in re-workings of Lion Attacking a Horse from the Capitoline Museums, Rome, and an 18th Century sculpture of a python wrestling with a bull by celebrated French ‘animalier’ Antoine-Louis Barye. These are re-carvings not exact copies, borne of Johnson’s respect and admiration for the originals. They are depictive of the constant fight with which living organisms, including humans, struggle to survive – a battle against time in which the end is inevitable. He chose to carve these noble beasts in Styrofoam but their final realisations are in fact cast in bronze, re-presenting that most elevated sculptural metal as a ubiquitous material of the present. The seeming contradictions between bronze and foam bring to light a counterintuitive lesson in longevity; in that the foam’s unfortunate inability to degrade, potentially remaining for millions of years, means it merely breaks down into tiny white dots that litter the oceans and are consumed at great cost by actual wildlife.

That sense of vulnerability and fragility is most evinced in this exhibition by sculptures Johnson has apparently created from crumpled balls of paper that could’ve been sourced from any waste-paper bin. They are more than casual three-dimensional doodles though: one is a rigorously modernist composition, the other a simple arch. But, while that most fundamental of constructions has for millennia epitomized physical stability, in this instance it seems to be teetering on the brink of toppling at the slightest nudge, as fleeting as the discarded ideas it was constructed from. Knowing that Johnson’s ‘paper’ is in fact meticulously rendered from painted brass adds another layer of contradiction, which only heightens this feeling of temporality.

33 Piece Kumiki is a large minimal interlocking wooden sculpture created without glue or nails. Kumiki, the Japanese word for ‘to join wood together’, is also commonly known as a small wooden toy for children and originates from 17th Century Japan. On first inspection its symmetrical form looks to be made of stacked square blocks but is the result of 33 pieces of precise carpentry and interlocking joinery, which Johnson has significantly re-scaled. The puzzle’s architectural elegance and resulting armature of symmetry allows the form to increase in size and complexity with the addition of more pieces to a potential scale of infinity.

Matt Johnson was born in New York in 1978, and lives and works in Los Angeles. He trained in the New York Studio Program, NY, Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD, and the University of California Los Angeles, CA. He has exhibited widely in such international venues as the Hydra Workshop, Hydra, Greece (2011), The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2009 and 2005); The Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007); and Astrup Fearnley, Oslo, Norway (2005; touring venues included Bard College, New York, NY; Serpentine Gallery, London, UK; Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland; and Songzhuan Art Center, Beijing, China). Recent solo exhibitions have included 303 Gallery, New York (2012) and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2011).





Today's News

November 25, 2013

National Maritime Museum examines J.M.W Turner’s lifelong fascination with the sea

French World War II veteran sells photo albums from Hitler manse for $13,700

(RED) Auction: $26.2 million raised at Sotheby's to fight against AIDS in Africa

Granddaughter of German painter Otto Dix slams 'scandalous' handling of Nazi art trove

British artist Jason Martin presents a new series of cast copper and nickel works at Lisson Gallery Milan

MoMA presents Isaac Julien's acclaimed film installation Ten Thousand Waves

Sotheby's to hold the first-ever Auction of Contemporary Art from Russia and Eastern Europe

Style queen: Fashion editor Isabella Blow's wardrobe on show in London at Somerset House

OHWOW gallery in Los Angeles now representing The Robert Mapplethorpe Estate

Matt Johnson’s second solo show at Alison Jacques Gallery opens in London

METRO Show dealers entice fair-goers with a spectrum of diverse curated exhibits

Exhibition of new works by Jan De Vliegher opens at Mike Weiss Gallery in New York

World record at Bonhams Hong Kong for Yixing masterpieces collection at HK$52M (4.1M GBP)

Michael Shumacher's Benetton-Cosworth Ford B194 to go under the hammer at Bonhams

Bonhams sells furniture of war hero who masterminded Operation 'Overlord'

Exhibition of recent paintings by the Ghanaian-born artist George Afedzi Hughes opens at Skoto Gallery

Part II of The Sam Snead Collection headlines Significant Golf Collectibles Event at Heritage Auctions

"theory of everything" by Jamey Morrill opens at Yellow Peril Gallery

In his fourth solo show, Klemens Gasser "feathers" the subjects of sex, life and death

Simon Dybbroe Møller's second exhibition at Laura Bartlett Gallery opens in London

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



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, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site