I scrambled to Sydney to make it in time for the very last day of Tim Johnson: Painting Ideas at the Art Gallery of NSW. I know appallingly little about Johnson, but after seeing a few examples of his work at The National Portrait Gallery I knew I had to see this show. I am so glad I sat through the three hour coach ride, because I can safely say this exhibition changed my life.
Sounds dramatic, I know, but I have been thinking about his work ever since I left the Gallery. It’s Johnson’s earlier paintings that I loved most. The kind of works I always wanted to paint, but he got it in a way I never could. His ability to balance a skilled hand with a fresh touch, imagery and emptiness, is incredible. Nothing has been labored over, but nothing is out of place.
And then, to have not only a collection of staggeringly good paintings but also a selection of his artists books, photographs, performances and videos – to be able to see that for Johnson, art was everywhere, in everything, not just something you do to pass the time on a Sunday afternoon.
* sigh *