The title of this exhibition helps explain the current course the artist has taken, the first part
Corsa Rossa (Red Race) is a nod to the inspiration for the original concept it is Ferrari of course.
referring to its illustrious racing history. The second part, The Physical Presence of Being asks us consider the physicality of the works, they are in fact from actual vintage Ferrari’s, a 250 GTE door, a 365 hood or a 575 Maranello. If the use value of a thing dies, can the alienated and hollowed-out object come to be charged with a new subjectivity? Can the artist take these vestiges of a divergent history and create a path to “fine art”? This the question posed and the answer simply put is yes. The ruined and abandoned objects are charged with new subjective intentions they become a quasi-subject, one that offers a glimpse of a world beyond
the objectivity of it’s industrial production. This use of pre-existing objects and their use for the production of a new value is not a theoretical leap but a new reality. The inherent beauty in the original object becomes redefined by Johnston. The doors and hoods are no longer passively waiting for a concept or theory to arrange themselves. The hood rears its head—a rough beast, a sci-fi monster, a repressed returnee, with a materiality ... a physical presence of being.
Gregory Johnston (born 1969) grew up watching races at Laguna Seca in Southern California with this father and grandfather and at an early age was mesmerized by car culture. His first major works were based on mid-century European racing cars; the paintings were made on raw aluminum, and rendered in vintage automotive colors with the aid of body shops. Johnston likens his compositions to musical scores, novels, and, most significantly, racecars and their drivers. Johnston describes himself as “working where the ghosts of Cy Twombly and Le Corbusier give fire to my imagination.”