Michael Johnson

1938 - Wave 1964
  • oil on linen
96 cm x 133.5 cm

'I always associate colour with entity: the constantly shifting context, the mutability, the power of one colour to completely transform another by virtue of placement or proximity. I don't find any energy in geometry. Energy resides instead in the expansion and contraction of colour. Geometry is just the aperture. This said, there is always a geometrical basis to my work. The very early organic abstractions, the minimal geometric abstraction and then the lyrical or gestural works, are all operating on a grid of some kind and the thread that links all of my work is colour.

In nature, colour creates optical intensity that distracts, it literally bends form. In paintings that use pure colour, the canvas can take on an almost sculptural quality. These are ideas that have been in place in my work from the early 60s onwards and in that time I did not mix colour or work tonally. Every hue is its own entity, raw yet mutable, and every composition is the place where my perception of colour is shocked back into recognition.'

Source: Michael Johnson, 2014, Sydney in the essay COLOUR NOTES for the exhibition, Michael Johnson London-Sydney-New York 1960s & 1970s, Annette Larkin Fine Art, Sydney, 2014

© Michael Johnson


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Michael Johnson 1938 - Baugin Cattai
  • oil on canvas
152 cm x 214 cm

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The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art acknowledges all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians of Country and recognises their continuing connection to land, sea, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

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