David Abel Johnson

Artist's Statement

My work in painting grows out of my roots in abstract expressionism as tempered by pop art and some other things. We all start somewhere. In trying to be concise, I have said that I am a painterly gestural abstractionist working extemporaneously in several broad themes referencing architectural and landscape forms with frequent symbolic elements. Since my formative years my focus has been on personal, not art world, developments.

My interests, from childhood on, were largely in structure, and a physical sense of structure is evident in most of the paintings. Much of this structure relates to the edge. That seems to be a particular focus for me.

I am drawn to format and the flat rectangle, which I very much like but which seems to have fallen out of favor. It is nonetheless somewhat of a commitment for me. As I say, I am a Jack of all trades but master of "one." I indulge myself in many other mostly physical activities related to property maintenance and other things which I do in various amateur, ad hoc, and not necessarily professional ways. Further, while I seldom paint directly from life, I am perpetually involved in looking in more or less formal terms; interior views, exterior rural, and especially urban landscapes, these I am continually analyzing, dissecting, and reconstructing while walking or driving about. In addition, I have a heavy involvement in various areas of reading and study, as a Christian there is a spiritual dimension as well and of course, all the rest of life.

The act of painting somehow synthesizes from all these involvements but is separate from them and held to a significantly different standard. This process, and these forms and relationships, find their way into the painting process and into the paintings themselves which is a formalization of these other things.

There is frequently also a symbolic dimension to be found to some extent in most of the paintings, ranging from specific elements or themes to general mood. It has developed gradually over time, is usually intuitive, not planned, being recognized by me only in retrospect. I do not think in symbolic terms, I am not interested in symbolism, nor do I look for it or try to construct it.

In large part the paintings are about their visual dynamics; very much about, I suppose, conventional composition. I am interested in activating the space in the painting and in the room where the painting is placed.