One-on-one with Geoffrey Johnson

When you come face to face with a painting by Geoffrey Johnson, you’ll quickly realize you are examining something otherworldly. Whether it’s one of his cityscapes or his interiors, they both share this ethereal, undeniable quality; a rare state of tranquility.

In cities such as New York and Paris, (two locations frequently portrayed by Johnson) moments of solitude aren’t so easy to find. There is the consistent flutter of people looking for places to go and things to see. In the worlds developed by Geoff the existence of humanity is acknowledged; but the grandeur of a city is a painting’s nucleus.

NYC I, 36×48, oil on panel | click here to view more work by Geoffrey Johnson

“My own relationship with New York City began as a child. My uncle lived there most of my life, and I started visiting at an early age. The city immediately made a profound impression on me; I found it magical. It is a unique place in itself. Having been to major cities all over the world, there is only one New York. I studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, my first experience of living in a large city. I spent many weekends in NYC taking the train from Philly. I’ve always loved architecture. There are so many aspects that make painting a city attractive to me. Clear lines and boundaries that architecture creates, the sight of people interacting in city spaces, and the way light varies from shadows to streams.”

Geoffrey Johnson

Johnson’s cityscapes feature sparse groupings of unidentifiable figures, while his interiors star a single blackened figure either standing or sitting often surrounded by an arrangement of obscure objects. The interiors exude the same eerie calmness present in his cityscapes. It’s fantastic.

Alvin’s House – Red, 38×38, oil on board | click here to view more work by Geoffrey Johnson

Geoff is constantly developing fresh and creative ideas, but one element never sways; the hybridization of abstraction and realism. The term hybridization in relation to art, refers to the crossing between contrasting symbolic, technical, and aesthetic elements. Johnson blends the concept of abstraction with the authenticity of realism. He breaches abstraction through his figures and realism through his rendering of architectural components. He masters that perfect balance. Johnson’s painting Gallery District perfectly exemplifies such balance.

Gallery District, 24×16, oil on board | click here to view more work by Geoffrey Johnson

“For me, it’s the idea of how little detail I can put down and still keep intact the universal language. I want the viewer to recognize that’s a bridge, maybe a building, that there are some recognizable things.”

Geoffrey Johnson
detail of Foyer in Red | click here for more info
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **

“Geoffrey Johnson’s works embody everything we strive to represent. We’ve always focused on exhibiting realism, but more importantly, we want to bring you artists whose works are unmistakably unique.”

Clint Mansell, Principle Gallery Director
Dinner Table, 36×24, oil on board | click here to view the exhibition
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **

A Solo Exhibition

This Friday Geoffrey Johnson returns for his solo exhibition and he will be armed with twenty new paintings!

If you would like to request the Geoffrey Johnson Exhibition Preview please contact info@principlegallery.com


Untitled 88, 30×40, oil on board | click here to view the exhibition
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **
detail of Untitled 88 | click here for more info
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **

An Interview with Geoffrey Johnson

In preparation for his solo exhibition, I issued Geoff the same questions that have been featured in our one-on-one blog series. The same eight questions have been posed to a variety of different artists. It’s interesting to see how each artist perceives these questions. Below you will find Geoffrey Johnson’s answers, please enjoy!

Geoffrey & Edith Johnson

Q. Is there something or someone who inspires you daily?

A. I have a great studio space. It really inspires me to paint. It is a peaceful, pleasant, light-filled place. My wife, who is an architect, designed it after years of my working in commercial spaces, basements, and even my living room for a while. We built it on our property in 2014.

Q. Is there a specific project, commission, personal creation, etc, that you are particularly proud of? What makes it so significant?

A. I no longer do commissions as I found I never handled them very well. I’m proud every time I can accomplish a body of work,  a show for example, that I feel represents a sound, creative quality. And also works together as a body of work. If the work sells, that’s even better!

Q. What does it mean to be creative and how essential is creativity to making a successful work of art?

A. To me to be creative means to make something that hasn’t yet been made. So we all take something from what’s already been created to create, the one thing we can’t do is create something out of nothing. Creativity is crucial for making a successful work of art or it has no life.

Q. Which museum is your favorite to visit?

A. The National Gallery in DC.

Q. What serves as your artistic motivation?

A. I feel more compelled than motivated. I have to paint. I am just fortunate to make a living doing so.

Q. How do you sustain your ambition?

A. Well bills help. Again I feel compelled to paint, and my ambition is always for new and interesting subject matter, or to express familiar subjects uniquely.

Q. Have you been faced with discouragement? If so, how did you overcome it?

A. Yes! When I’m in a lost place painting. Many times I’ve said the hardest thing is knowing what to paint. Sometimes I feel I’ve exhausted everything I want to paint. But I’ve learned to be persistent in searching out something new, something that grabs me, and I experience that moment again, an excitement or challenge of trying to paint. The biggest step out of discouragement is just starting to paint.

Q. In the beginning of your career, what was the best piece of advice you were given? Who gave it to you?

A. “Now you know you can do that, throw that away. What else can you do?” was said to me by Sidney Goodman, a painter and part-time instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. I was painting very realistically in watercolor at the time.

detail of The Search | click here for more info
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **
detail of Landscape I | click here for more info
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **

Living Room I, 36×24, oil on board | click here to view the exhibition
** this painting is a part of Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition **

Geoffrey Johnson’s Solo Exhibition opens THIS FRIDAY, May 17th! Please join us for the Opening Reception Friday evening from 6:30-9pm, Geoffrey Johnson will be in attendance.

Please contact info@principlegallery.com if you’d like to request the Geoffrey Johnson Exhibition Preview!