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I was recently given the opportunity of my life where I was invited to show work at the satellite exhibition Out Of Sight during Seattle Art Fair. This was such an awesome opportunity and lead to a first time event in my life where I had someone write about my work. The pieces that included in the show where part of the combination series that I recently began.
I'm beyond grateful for the kinds words given by The Stranger and City Arts regarding my pieces.
Out of Sight, Into Mind: Art On the Margins of the Seattle Art Fair.
"Barry Johnson is a visual artist who works in painting, sculpture, video art, installation, and illustration. Most recently, he's been working on a series of paintings of men who have their faces obscured by various compositional devices—an artful crop here, a strategically draped hoodie there, or even a framed picture-within-a-picture affixed to the painting, almost humorously calling attention to its own role in the obfuscation.
Instead of seeing faces, we are given sumptuous pastel color fields and decorative arrays of found objects that hint at narratives. Untitled 26 incorporates roofing materials, skewer sticks, and a painted segment of a branch, all positioned behind the back of a figure rendered in house paint with loose, confident strokes. The resulting image is simultaneously mysterious and familiar; anonymous and specific. There is a strength in this tension that makes me curious to see more of Johnson's work." -Emily Pothast
Out of Sight Is Big, Beautiful and Bright
Barry Johnson’s portraits of men in profile, set against bubblegum pink or baby-blue backgrounds, leave us yearning for what's left unseen. Johnson [disclosure: Johnson also works for City Arts] omits the most intriguing parts, leaving faces out of frame, or at times literally veiled by objects like a folding fan that's been affixed directly to the canvas. -Margo Vansynghel
Paint alone doesn't seem to be doing it for me these days. I want to add more and more and just keeping putting everything on canvas. There's really nothing that I can't turn into art these days.
I've recently been frustrated with the amount of attention put into faces in art. Personally, I think we get to caught up in the face and disregard all of the beauty that lies around it so I started making a series of painting of men that have their faces removed. I've combined every day objects with the portraits revealing new stories about the pieces.
This portrait contains roofing material, wood skewer sticks and a branch.
This image has a fan that I collected during a writing trip to Hawaii where I created a number of works from every day material. It also has wood skewer sticks.
This piece was created with red tape and plaster.
This piece combines wood panel, plaster and clay.
Expect more over soon.
During a time when discussions about community, identity and privilege are at a all time high, what better way to get involved in the conversations than through art. I recently had the opportunity to work with the team over at Forward Flux and I was given the chance to guest curator a residency where we challenged 18 artists of all background to create new and interesting works around the idea "Who Am I/Who I Am.' During this three-week residency we met and had discussed the world us and how it has affected the work we create. Many great conversations were had and I truly feel lifelong friends were created over this three week period. I played the role of fly on the wall capturing the conversations and posing questions where needed.
Below are some of the great notes that I caught during the meetings.
After three weeks, we met at Fred Wildlife Refuge and did a two night show full of performances, music, art, and installations. Theroom was packed and it had a high amount of engagement from the fans walking throughout the space. Check out some of the images from the evening.
I also created a piece for the show where I took images of the artists and placed portions of their faces together to create new portraits. One of my favorite artist, George Lois did this once and I love the outcome of it. It's amazing to see now matter the color and gender, we're still very much alike.