February 8— March 10, 2019
Opening Reception: February 8, 6–8pm
DUMBO’s First Thursday Art Walk: March 7, 6–9pm
A.I.R. Gallery is pleased to announce Stratus Lift, an exhibition by New York artist Carrie Johnson. Johnson will be showing a new body of large paintings that use abstraction to draw attention to the contemporary landscape, and our ability to consider the elements of modern society in an abstract way. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York City.
Before painting, Johnson translates photographs of landscape, disaster sites, and cityscapes into formal compositions of line and color. Man-made and organic structures and scenes provide a guide for textural mark-making and composition. Johnson arranges these images into collages where the natural world and human footprint are in conversation. Repeating and modifying these shapes, she constructs a scale-less space that pines for harmony, as documentary details dissolve into simpler shapes. Each globular mass is an irreplaceable node in the canvas’ ecosystem. Composition is Johnson’s subject, and her built environments serve as a meditation on the ways in which abstracted forms exist together.
Johnson’s work strives for the necessity of every element, which starts with her definition of form via line. A gray hue in the background is consistent throughout the exhibition, scraped with a palate knife, or sanded and rubbed, defining the atmosphere of this series. In Traverse 2, for example, a cloudy cobalt background serves as the control of the composition. Dense forms composed of wax medium and paint in the middle-ground act like pedestals for the polygons in the foreground. Theatrical gems (or germs) wriggle on the surface, embracing the fluidity of the overall composition. Like words being painted by an airplane in the sky, the surface of each painting is in constant flux between legibility and dissolution.
In Stratus Lift, Johnson uses abstraction to capture the riptide current of the metropolis. She resists the restful refrain of a horizon line even though cartography and landscape are a constant reference. How do these shapes and forms effect us? Each painting strives for equilibrium, even as it oscillates — a paradox seminal to long-term life in the big city.