Cosmos Suite painting 2013: Celestial Storm by Vincent Johnson


Cosmos Suite painting 2013: Celestial Storm by Vincent Johnson. Oil on canvas. 30″x40″.

This is the first painting I’ve created in the year 2012. Each of the paintings in the Cosmos Suite and Nine Grayscale paintings employs different elements in terms of paint application, type of painting media used, and the range of colors worked into the painted surface. This particular painting has four major layers of paint with more layers added and blended into the already laid down and worked paint. The second layer is allowed to bone dry before the last layers are applied. I’ve compiled several recipes for creating the paintings, which take several weeks as the underpainting layers are air-dried. After applying the third layers, I rest the work for a day or more to figure out what will be the plan of attack to complete and resolve the painting. With each work I strive to produce an elegant and beautiful image that is also compelling to engage from the perspective of the history of painting and of contemporary painting practices today.

Vincent Johnson

Los Angeles


Celestial Storm: Studio view (2013)


Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

New Abstract Paintings: The Cosmos suite (2012)

Golden Dream (2012), part of the Cosmos Suite of paintings

California Toilet, Filthy Light Switch (2010) by Vincent Johnson. Archival Epson print (Private Collection, Miami, Florida). I provided this image as I realized its clear similarity to Golden Dream, which I completed a week ago in my studio in Los Angeles.

Two at Night (2012) from the Cosmos suite of paintings, Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches

Cosmos. Oil on canvas  2012 by Vincent Johnson

Cosmos Red Yellow Green. Oil on canvas 2012 by Vincent Johnson

Green God. Oil on canvas 2012 by Vincent Johnson

This new painting series is part of my ongoing exploration of painting materials and techniques from the history of painting. The works combine knowledge of painting practices of both abstract and representation paintings. The works concern themselves purely with the visual power that paintings can do through the manipulation of paint. Some of the underpaintings are allowed to dry for months; some of those are built dark to light, others light to dark. None are made in a single setting. Most are worked and reworked using studio materials. Each new series takes a different approach to the painted surface from how the paint is applied, to varying the painting mediums. This suite concerns itself with the layering of paint by building up the surface and altering and reworking the wet paint with studio tools.

Two larger paintings will be completed and photographed on Sunday, July 15, 2012 and posted here.

Vincent Johnson, Grayscale painting: The Storm (2012). Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, created in studio in Los Angeles, California

Vincent Johnson, Grayscale painting, Snow White/White Snow (2012). Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches, created in studio in Los Angeles

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

Vincent Johnson, Nine Grayscale Paintings, Beacon Arts Center, Los Angeles, (2001). Oil on canvas. Each panel is 20×24 inches.
photograph of silver paint on my hands in studio, Los Angeles, during the creation of Nine Grayscale paintings.
Vincent Johnson – in Los Angeles studio working on Nine Grayscale Paintings, 2011

Vincent Johnson

Los Angeles, California
Vincent Johnson received his MFA in Fine Art Painting from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California 1997 and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was selected for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 for the Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art Slant and many other publications. His photographic works were most recently shown in the inaugural Pulse Fair Los Angeles. His most recent paintings were shown at the Beacon Arts Center in Los Angeles.

LA artworld openings: Henry Tayor at Blum & Poe/Kehinde Wiley at Roberts & Tilton

Henry Taylor’s opening at Blum & Poe was phenomenal. There were young African-American photographers flanked on both sides of Henry, shooting non-stop photographs. Henry has achieved what no other African-American artist has done, which is to be offered representation by one of the world’s most important galleries – Blum & Poe. Henry Taylor has received significant applause for his figurative paintings. He works like artists did in New York in the 1940’s and 1950’s, in a but in a not so easy area of Los Angeles, in Chinatown. He has a huge studio space. He paints from life and from memory and from photos, and from live models, right off of the streets of LA, like artists did in the 19th century in Europe. He was trained to work as a Conceptual Artist but rejected that way of working in favor of a more hands-on approach to image making. Five or six years ago he painted seemingly exclusively on found objects – cigarette packs, cereal boxes, thrown away small pieces of luggage. I saw these works at both Sister gallery in Chinatown, itself a sliver of a gallery space. Later he showed a room sized installation of small painted objects and sculptural assemblages, also in his Chinatown studio/Mesler & Hug gallery.  As his work gained significance in the market, he began to make larger paintings, which culminate today in his 24 foot wide painting with the words WARNING SHOT NOT NEEDED painted in bold black letters across the top of the canvas. In his first large-scale installation sculptural work, where black painted detergent bottles are set atop various poles, such as mops,  he makes painterly gestures using black paint to signify erasure of the spirit, as in the case where a beer can case is almost completely painted over, leaving just enough text left to show that this was a case of Miller High Life, and the HIGH LIFE has been wiped out by black paint. There was a virtual orgy of people congratulating Henry at his opening, including myself. I recall teasing him at the gorgeous Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach about his paintings getting larger, after I saw one of his first maybe 4×6 foot paintings in the Rubell Family Collection’s show entitled 30 Americans earlier that day in December, a couple of years ago.

Henry Taylor's studio - photographed in black and white by the NYTimes, mythologies the artist and sets him back into the era that NYC perceives LA to be in, which is about the year 1945, in 2011.

Henry Taylor's press release for his Blum & Poe show

Henry Taylor's New York Times T magazine photo

Mock up of Henry Taylor's sculptural installation at Blum & Poe

A sculpture in Henry Taylor's show

Henry Taylor's A Jack Move painting at Blue & Poe

Henry Taylor's studio was photographed by the NYTimes in black and white to lend a mythological air to the LA Artworld, which NYC perceives to be living in around 1945, about the time that NYC overtook the 300 year old Paris artworld.


a second NYTimes photo of Henry Taylor's studio

Henry Taylor’s début opening at Blum & Poe, March 2011

Henry Taylor's sculptural installation of detergent bottles and mop heads at Blum & Poe

Tu Pac in Henry Taylor's sculptural installation

Henry Taylor's powerful potent, aesthetically compelling painting at Blum & Poe

In this painting by Henry Taylor the earth and sky planes interchange.

Taylor makes a poetic comparison between animals and downtrodden mankind, living both in power and in fear; then he plays with black silhouette head to make symbolic commentary.

Here Taylor seems to say that African-American soul negating texts are built into the society, without it even being conscious of it.

Henry Taylor's opening at Blum & Poe

Kehinde Wiley’s World Stage: Israel opening at Robert & Tilton in Culver City (Los Angeles) was heavily attended. The paintings feature bold uses of color. They seem to me to be more casual snapshot than about penetrating character analysis, and about popularizing the unfamiliar and the exotic.

Kehinde Wiley World Stage: Israel at Roberts&Tilton

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

265 Southwark, South London (2011)


Vincent Johnson in London (2011)

Biography April 2011

Vincent Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles
Johnson’s work has been exhibited at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, LAXART, Las Cienegas Projects, the Kellogg Museum at Cal Poly Pomona, the P.S. 1. Museum, the SK Stiftung, Cologne, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Adamski Gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen, the Sacramento Center for Contemporary Art, 18th Street Arts, Santa Monica, Another Year in LA gallery at the Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles, Soho House, West Hollywood and the Boston University Art Gallery and several other venues.
Johnson’s photographic works engage both significant and neglected historical and contemporary cultural artifacts and is based on intensive research of his subjects. Upcoming are projects in Copenhagen and other European venues, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles.
Johnson received his MFA from Art Center College of Design in 1997. He studied with Mike Kelly, Jack Goldstein, Stephen Prina, Liz Larner, Chris Williams, Mayo Thompson (formerly of Art&Language), and Liz Larner.
Johnson is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was nominated for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 nominated for Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 201o he was named a United States Artists project artist.
Johnson’s work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times,  the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Upcoming is a one person show in Copenhagen, a one person show at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a one person show at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles. More exhibitions and projects will be announced soon.

Vincent Johnson currently has work in the ForYourArt benefit exhibition at Soho House, West Hollywood, California and will have work in Los Angeles Nomadic Division’s (L.A.N.D.) benefit exhibition and auction at Palihouse in West Hollywood, California in May 2011.  In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. In 2005 he was named Creative Capital grantee. His work has been shown in both the U.S. and in Europe and has been reviewed in the NYTimes, LATimes and Artforum. Future exhibitions are in preparation for shows in the U.S. and in Europe.

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