The humble museum bench does it all. It provides a place to rest, admire a perplexing painting, ogle the crowd or check DMs. Experiencing a bout of Stendhal syndrome? Cue the bench. Benches also help make museums more accessible to people of all mobility levels. The Hammer Museum is business in the back, party in the front. Inside the galleries, you’ll find dull benches in gray. But in the lounge areas, the museum has inserted quirk and color with handmade furnishings by artist duo Johanna Jackson and Chris Johanson. These one-of-a-kind pieces are fabricated with reclaimed wood and are often asymmetrical in design, featuring hand-sewn cushions with abstract shapes quilted onto the surface.
In Portland, California-native Chris Johanson’s swirling “abstract flows of colour” also reference mandala paintings. “I focus on not knowing what I am doing while my body carefully and slowly paints these colours next to each other,” writes Johanson in Considering Unknow Know With What Is, And (published by New York gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash). “All the while, I think about everything else – past, present and future, myopic and hyperopic.” Working on raw canvas slows down the painting process. “You think about things slowly, too,” he says. “The process is perfectly time consuming; it just mellows me out completely. They’re peaceful paintings to make. And I think you can see it. That’s why they resonate.”
Though they maintain separate practices, Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson regularly collaborate on hand-hewn pieces that are subtly autobiographical.
Portland, Oregon-based artist, musician, skater and surfer Chris Johanson has teamed up with Vans for a sustainable capsule that encourages you to “Be Cool to Your Living World.” Consisting of five sneakers plus several pieces of apparel, the offerings from Johanson and the California-based footwear behemoth practice what they preach thanks to mindful materials like eco-rubber compounds, organically grown cotton and much more.
We asked 24 of our favorite creative minds—including Thom Browne, Dua Lipa, Desus & Mero, Robert Pattinson, and Ottessa Moshfegh—to tell us what they’re discovering about art, and about themselves, in this age of isolation.
There’s an artistic renaissance afoot at the Vans US Open of Surfing this year, and the ever-colorful Chris Johanson is building something awesomely weird right there on the sand. If you’ve paid any attention to the worlds of skateboarding or art over the past few decades, chances are Johanson’s work has struck you with its colorful and humorous tongue-in-cheek impressionism, which has graced the bottom of skateboards and the walls of prestigious galleries alike.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash recently debuted a new exhibit in Chelsea, Manhattan, on view from April 6 – May 13, 2017. Chris Johanson: Possibilities showcases new paintings and works on paper that invite you to physically interact with the art.
Possibilities, Johanson’s second solo exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash introduces his whimsical and easy-going West Coast style that has become associated with Mission Art School. Cartoonish drawings, symbols from pop culture, and figures that morph into abstraction appear in bright, sunny colors often times accompanied by text. The artist, who went into the radar of New York art scene with his participation in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, uses different found material he finds on the street, paying homage to his early days as a street artist.
Chris Johanson: Possibilities is an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper on view in an immersive installation at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash’s Chelsea space. Johanson’s work engages with the meditative qualities of art-making and the sincere direct communication through painting and sculpture.
New Artist We Love
Started on the Street, Headed for the Met
Born: San Jose, California
Lives: Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon
What Johanson Makes: Colorful and almost childlike paintings of people, cities, and solar systems, often with words of wisdom or existential outbursts. Also: sculptures, video, and music. (See his record label, Awesome Vistas.)
Artslant Backwards Towards the Future by Joel Kunnen Chris Johanson Kavi Gupta Gallery, September 10- October 16, 2010. Gallery season is now officially in full swing as witnessed by the glut of art kids and young professionals that swarmed the West Loop Gallery direct this past weekend.
Compromising paintings and one large installation, Chris Johanson's second solo exhibition at this gallery was equal parts cryptic and clear-cut, lighthearted and sarcastic, comic and tragic. Most of the artist's new works employ a Crayola palette and are composed of wood he gathered from Brooklyn Dumpsters and discarded art-shipping crates.
What does a painting have to apologize for? No answers but contrition aplenty, were at hand in Chris Johanson's installation "Totalities," which presented some three dozen acrylic-on-wood paintings, mounted on rough wooden supports and standing penitently in a circle around a slowly rotating, gray-painted plywood icon.