Approved: 26.02.2008

Alexander Johnson

Artist, Gallery educator

Approved: 26.02.2008

I graduated in 1985 and have been painting and exhibiting all my adult life. I have spent time living in Spain and Holland as well as London and East Sussex where I am now based.

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      Artist Statement

      I graduated in 1985 and have been painting and exhibiting all my adult life. I have spent time living in Spain and Holland as well as London and East Sussex where I am now based.

      Whatever I am working on, my paintings are always rooted in charcoal drawing. Subsequently these drawings are simplified and abstracted to produce the painted work. There is no attempt to hide the painting process, rather to acknowledge it and incorporate into the finished work. For me strong imagery must be rooted in a drawn knowledge of the subject matter and its history, I suppose I'm old-fashioned in that way. Ultimately you've got to put the hours in drawing to understand your subject matter before you start to fashion it into something new.

      Visually I perform a balancing act between abstraction and representation, some paintings are apparently completely abstracted and some pretty straightforward, although the colours are rarely naturalistic. This is the way I have always worked and fits in with the artists I have admired and been influenced by over the years; Matisse and Picasso of course, but also Rose Hilton, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, all of whom blurred the line between abstraction and realism. I use traditional media but I am not trying to portray a nostalgic or retrospective vision. I am trying to paint things as I feel them as much as how I see them.

      Over the past twenty years I have worked mainly in project format, focussing on a particular subject matter for two years or so. These projects often relate back to my interest in the legacy of the Second World War sparked by my father’s career as a Spitfire pilot working with the RAF photo reconnaissance unit. Most recently I was artist in residence at ex-WWII Deanland Airfield in Ripe (2016-18) which resulted in a book and exhibition at Farley's Farmhouse Gallery with photographer John Brockliss.

      This year I've begun researching a new series of paintings about Guernica, which will be exhibited at 35 North Gallery, Brighton next year. For more information about these projects please have a look at my website where they are all available to see. The website is updated monthly and I keep a visual diary of my studio practice on Instagram and Twitter.

      CV & Education

      2019 April/May: Farley Farmhouse Gallery & Lee Miller Archives, The Deanland Project (John Brockliss photographer) curated by Antony Penrose.

      2018 November, The Masters Printmaking Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London. (7-18 Nov)

      2018 November, Woolwich Print Fair, London.

      2018 Glynde Place Chalkpit group exhibition.

      2018 June/July: 35 North Contemporary Fine Art The Deanland Project (solo)

      2017 Rabley Drawing Centre touring exhibition.

      2017 Towner Art Gallery Eastbourne, Five Silkscreens from the Reconnaissance series.

      2017 National Original Print Exhibition, Bankside Gallery London.

      2017 Jerwood Drawing Prize, selected artist, Jerwood Space, London (then touring)

      2017 Reconnaissance at ATOM Gallery, London, solo exhibition of silkscreens on paper.

      2017 August: Artwave Open Studios, Lewes, East Sx.

      2016: Artists Viewpoint, Alexander Johnson talk about David Bomberg, first floor gallery. Video link:

      2016: Gallery 35 North, Brighton. Solo exhibition of new work.

      2015: Club Abstract, at the Towner Gallery Eastbourne, Alexander Johnson talks on William Gear relating it back to his own work as an abstract artist.

      2015 SEO: three pieces selected by The Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, July-September.

      2015: LIFE IN ABSTRACT new work (solo exhibition) The Project Gallery, Arundel.

      2013 - Brighton Festival Artist's Open Studios 

      2012 - New Work, The Four Seasons at Canary Wharf, London (with Modern Art Buyer)

      2012 - 'BITE' Artists Making Prints, The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London UK

      2012 - House Open, Brighton Dome Founders Room, Brighton,

      2012 - Parallax AF, 82 Mercer St, New York

      2011 - Pushing Print, The Margate Gallery, Kent.

      2009 - Art Liberating Lives, Mall Galleries, London 2009

      2009 - Fragile Landscapes, The Architects Gallery, London

      2009 - ROCK TRUST , Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

      2007 - Art/CLIC, Bankside Gallery, London.


      2017 Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition catalogue. ISBN: 978-1-908331-29-8

      2015 Life in Abstract, Project Gallery catalogue. ISBN: 978-1-78280-620-2

      2015 Inside Artists magazine, Issue 2.

      2015 Art in Brighton. ISBN 978-0-9928543-1-7

      2014 Art in Brighton. ISBN: 978-0-9928543-0-0