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Mitchell-Innes & Nash opens exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Chris Johanson
Chris Johanson, This is something I understand, 2016. Avrylic and household paint on found wood. 45 by 54 by 21/2 in. © Chris Johanson. Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY.


NEW YORK, NY.- Mitchell-Innes & Nash announces Chris Johanson: Possibilities, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper on view in an immersive installation at the gallery’s Chelsea space from April 6 through May 13. Possibilities is Johanson’s second solo exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.

Johanson’s work engages with the meditative qualities of art-making and the sincere direct communication through painting and sculpture. He often refers to his painting as a form of “social documentary”, as the work captures common human issues like anger, anxiety, hope, fear, joy, and doubt, as well as the collective sense of wonder about our place in the universe. In Possibilities , Johanson reflects on the complex moral and political state of society today. Human figures are balanced in the air, caught in the delicate and dangerous act of traversing tightropes that Johanson has suspended in the gallery. In between the human figures, paintings of parrots, rats, and worms complete a small ecosystem which both coexists and intersects with the traversing humans above, offering a model for peaceful co-existence and a sense of a synergistic community.

Text-based works figure heavily in the exhibition. Throughout the gallery are odd-shaped pieces of found wood painted with a serially repeated ‘¢’ sign. Johanson has often been concerned with how society measures value, and the proliferation of ‘cents’ signs throughout the gallery space offers a poetic critique of the capitalist impulse to accumulate wealth. Of these works, Johanson offers the pointed remark: “I want to make cents. I just want to make sense.” Works on paper that read “possibility” are also tacked throughout the gallery, alongside paintings that exclaim “Oh, yes” or “Oh, no”. Despite the social and political critique inherent in much of the work, as the title of the show suggests, Johanson’s enduring message is optimistic.

Throughout the run of the exhibition, a number of editioned silkscreens from $25 to $50 will be available for sale, and all proceeds will be donated to ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and 350.org.

About Chris Johanson Born in 1958 in San Jose, California, Chris Johanson is a key member of San Francisco’s Mission School. His work plays between the techniques of figuration and abstraction, as he sees these two modes of working as interconnected expressions of strong beliefs in environmentalism, compassion, and peaceful co-existence. Chris Johanson has exhibited widely in museums and galleries internationally over the past decade. His work has been the subject of solo shows at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York (2014); the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Oregon (2014); LA MoCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, California (2013); and the Modern Institute in Glasgow, United Kingdom (2013). Johanson has been featured in important group exhibitions including Glasgow International 2012 and the 2002 Whitney Biennial.






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