BRADFORD JOHNSON

I’m fascinated with the boundaries between photography and painting. I find endless delight in criss crossing the line between both - rendering a documented event and recasting it’s backstory in the lush subjective possibilities of paint.

My work draws from now forgotten sensational stories in the press - like an audacious 1897 balloon flight over the North Pole, a 1934 expedition to Loch Ness or a tragic mission to the Amazon in 1956.

It’s not nostalgia that animates my efforts but following a question of what was real and what is remembered.

Brad has been painting now for nearly three decades and exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions—garnering acknowledgements and awards from such prestigious organizations as the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Yaddo and MacDowell Artist Colonies. Throughout this time he has focused on “first-level” questions: who are we, where do we come from, why are we here, what has gone wrong, where are we going?

In Johnson’s work there is often an element of immanent danger and potential or actual disaster. Images of wrecked ships, airplanes, and balloons alongside ordinary human activities; indicators of aspiration and failure, calamity and hope — overlaid with time and memory. His work points directly and indirectly toward our mortality. His paintings are allusive and multi-layered, open to multiple interpretations. 

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