MATTHEW GRAEME JOHNSON
24TH OCTOBER - 16TH NOVEMBER 2019
Jerico Contemporary is delighted to present our first solo exhibition with Australian artist Matthew Graeme Johnson, Continuum.The show will open on Thursday the 24th of October and continue through to Saturday the 16th of November 2019.
Continuumis an exploration of our relationship with nature, time and the process of creation. Where spontaneous blue lines bleed into white, Johnson’s work reveals unique visual poetry, unseen calligraphies that expose the silent, ever-present verses shared between sun and sea.
Through the lens of his hand-held camera, Johnson begins to create his work by capturing sunlight reflecting off of the ocean at sunrise and sunset. Captured using long exposures, Johnson’s photographs do not aim to represent the natural elements being photographed, rather, they are simply the medium he uses to create them. The temperamental nature of this medium is heightened by natural variables such as the tides, rocks, cloud cover, the depth of the water, and the distance Johnson is from it. His camera also captures his own movements both voluntary and involuntary. During some exposures the movements are purposeful, as he responds to the motions of the sea and the sun’s reflection on it, in other exposures only involuntary movements such as his breath, heartbeat and other fine muscle movements are captured while he attempts to hold the camera steady.
This gentle dance between body and sea is encapsulated by long exposures and photographic techniques that ultimately give way to gestural mark making, reminiscent of abstract painting, drawing and calligraphic structures; sometimes calm, other times volatile. Never to be repeated, the works are produced as single editions; one of one.
Where typically photographers strive to eliminate their movement and presence from the image, Johnson’s work favours the opposite. Instead, the artist represents himself and the natural environment as one; blurring the traditional boundaries between artist and subject. “In the image, there is no discernible line between the movements in the scene and the movement of the photographer. You can’t distinguish where my movements end and the oceans begin.”
Inspired by abstract expressionist painters and the importance they placed on creative process, the actions and elements that enable Johnson to create are as significant as the final outcome of each artwork. The process is both controlled and happenstance at once. Using photographic techniques, Johnson extracts the final images that lie beneath the surface of our visual reality to divulge nature’s own artworks.
Continuum proposes a harmonious coming together of humanity and nature. Through collaborating with the sun and sea, Johnson brings what was once invisible to the surface.
Matthew Graeme Johnson (b.1985) is an emerging artist from Sydney Australia. Continuum marks the artists' first solo exhibition. His work has previously been shown with Jerico Contemporary in a group show titled Overture, 2016. His previous series, Moon on Sea explored the concept of the latent image in nature by photographing the reflection of moonlight on ocean water. Johnson's latest body of work for Continuum extends on this practice, instead capturing the sun's reflection on the ocean's surface. The artist currently lives and works in Far North NSW.