Picture Theory is pleased to present Gretta Johnson’s forthcoming solo exhibition, Passing Through, an overview of the past five years of her evolving studio practice.
Passing Through displays a progression of Johnson’s thinking and feeling her way from the realm of pure abstraction to the reintroduction of recognizable figurative forms. Everything in Gretta Johnson’s world is moving, transforming, emerging, flowing. An android’s eye dissolves into pixels; the mechanical is swallowed by organic forms. A pleasing peach shape could be a gate, a body, or a piece of curling paper. A pair of legs floats from the blue, or drips, long as petals, toward a rich, dark soil. Human hands thick as oven mitts or boxer’s gloves show the delicate understructure of veins, and a plant’s springtime stem is split open to reveal a sparkling waterfall within. The eye latches onto the reference, then roams, explores, becomes lost again. Logic doesn’t satisfy and is never the intention: Johnson prefers the ambiguous, the anti-resolution.
Gretta Johnson’s work suggests the numinous, with a radiant truth dancing perceptibly if also just out of reach. But as energetic as Johnson’s paintings are, they also remain open in their invitation to linger, to contemplate, to become still. To revisit, to rest, to prolong a state of feeling. Look closely and find the repetition of the infinity sign, as intrinsic and vital to mathematics as it is to a pack of Tarot cards. Johnson’s paintings present an apprehension of infinity, which promises all the time in the world. If we allow ourselves to take the trip, to explore the looping, endless curve, we would discover that we are always back at the beginning, at the origin of the world. Everything could be different from how it seemed a moment ago.
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Gretta Johnson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1985. She earned her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 and has lived in New York since 2010. Exhibitions of Johnson’s work have taken place at Tappeto Volante Projects and Safe Gallery in Brooklyn, New York; L’Inconnue and Feuer/Mesler Gallery in New York City, Real Pain Fine Arts and The Desk of Lucy Bull in Los, Angeles, CA; and Paris London Hong Kong in Chicago, Illinois. The artist has published multiple art books including Star Fruit with Paper Rocket Comics in 2014 as well as OOLM with Dark Chart Press in 2016. A selection of her works are on the David Zwirner Platform through June of 2022.