George Johnson

Study 1980
acrylic on canvas
45 x 38cm

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Brief biography

George Johnson is a New Zealand-born artist, now based in Melbourne, who has been exhibiting since 1948, during which time he has had over 28 solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions both here and overseas. He graduated with a Diploma of Art, The Royal Melbourne Technical College (later RMIT), in 1968 and with a Technical Teachers Certificate from Melbourne Teachers College in 1965. His work is represented in many public and private collections. He was awarded the Orange Art Prize in 1971 and a Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council Grant in 1977.

About the works

George Johnson is a geometric abstractionist who cites early Cubists such as Picasso, Braque and Leger, along with Mondrian and Van Doesburg, and Neoplasticism as inspirations. Geometric abstraction is concerned with 'the inherent two-dimensional features of painting', that is, a purist's representation of reality. Johnson creates abstract works that are non-figurative, and enshrine a personal language of forms where immediate clues to visual identity have been deliberately forgone, or disguised as part of an intuitive or highly conceptualised philosophical process.

Charles Nodrum, gallery owner and friend of Johnson, stated in the introduction to the catalogue for the exhibition Beyond Animism and Beyond Animation that 'it was the 1980s that saw the full flowering of his quintessential geometry – lines, squares, bars, blocks and triangles in constant interaction: jostling and nudging, leaning, lurching, masking, cutting and pressing'. Five of the six Johnson works in the Allens collection are from this period, the decade when Johnson was seen to be operating at his peak. World View No. 3 is a significant work from the World View series, and Structure and Blue Triangle and Black Construction No. 2 both employ the motif that Johnson used in his most important works of this time, the downward-facing triangle.

Works in the Allens collection

Study 1980
acrylic on canvas, 45 x 38cm

Structure No. 12 1983
acrylic on canvas, 91 x 76cm

World View No. 3 1987
acrylic on canvas, 152 x 182cm

Structure and Blue Triangle 1987
acrylic on canvas, 76 x 91cm

Black Triangle Construction No. 2 1988
acrylic on canvas, 122 x 91cm