Reynolds Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Distorted Horizons, an exhibition of Ron Johnson’s paintings on panel and new paintings on Plexiglas. The show opens with a reception for the artist on Friday, September 7 from 7 – 9 pm and continues through October 26, 2018. It Is Johnson’s sixth solo show at Reynolds Gallery.
Every summer, Johnson embarks on a two-week cross-country trek. Each time the route changes, lending spontaneity to an explorative—almost fantastical—journey. Crossing the Kansas plains to wind down into the Grand Canyon and up the coast of California, he photographs landscape after landscape, capturing their variations in light, color, and line. Back in the studio, these scenes directly influence his compositional decisions, grounding his mirage-like paintings in natural elements.
In the early 2000s, Johnson began working with 3-inch deep panels, pouring pigmented polyurethane over the surface while overlapping cut strips of canvas. As underlying forms emerge from drips of paint and rigid canvas strips, the textural paintings become complex studies of mark and color, much like distant landscapes. In Distorted Horizons, Johnson presents a new series of paintings on Plexiglas, which are guided by a similar process yet uniquely engage his materials. Using thick 3⁄4 inch sheets of Plexiglas as his surface, the smooth, seductive base heightens transparency and movement. Highly pigmented and loosely geometric in form, the works resonate with energy. Johnson’s intuitive paint application engages a wide depth of color, balanced by negative space created through clear polyurethane or wide, untouched pools of paint. Color transforms into light just as the compositions shift into landscapes, seemingly splitting open the earth. Within the Plexi, imagery slowly emerges like the edge of a mountain, carved-out layers of sediment, or an eroding bank. Hanging inches from the wall, the two-dimensional paintings further this archeological record of the world. As their backs glow against the wall, the voided space between the wall and piece becomes a reference to all the uncaptured scenes, the in- betweens, and the unknown and unexplored.
Johnson was born in Columbus, Ohio where he later received his BFA from Ohio State University. He now lives in Richmond and works as an Associate Professor of Painting and Printmaking at VCUarts, where he received his MFA in Painting and Printmaking (2003). His work has been exhibited at Gary Snyder Projects, New York; Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA; Hunt Gallery at Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA; Ohio University, Lancaster; Columbus Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Cite des Arts Gallery and White Elephant Gallery, Paris; VCUarts Anderson Gallery, 1708 Gallery, and the Visual Arts Center in Richmond. He is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Award, the Ucross Foundation Residency, Clearmont, Wyoming, and the Cite International des Arts Paris, France residency. Johnson’s work is in numerous important private and public collections including the Richmond offices of the Altria Group, Capital One, the Medical College of Virginia, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Markel Corporation.