Life Study

May 25 - June 25, 2017

Ryan Johnson

Press Release

Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to announce Life Study, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with Brooklyn-based artist Ryan Johnson. For this exhibition, Johnson will present four new plywood sculptures painted with translucent washes of acrylic paint.

The sculptures in the exhibition are symbolic vignettes representing everyday life. Among the scenes depicted are an expectant mother, a driver in a car, and a first kiss. Constructed by carving and sanding slabs of laminated plywood, each piece is centered around protruding or amplified body parts that echo in conversation within themselves and the other works in the gallery. To that end, a pregnant belly becomes a bulging steering wheel, becomes an oversized child’s forehead.

Johnson’s biomorphic figures focus on fundamental Modernist concerns of form while simultaneously referencing a wide range of past sculptural traditions including the statuary of Ancient Greece, Cycladic sculpture, and American Vernacular Art. The elongated shapes and undulating forms of these sculptures unfold in space revealing surreal spatial compressions and quasiFuturist depictions of movement. Slated oval planes are used for limbs with clean geometrical lines to define the contours of Johnson’s enigmatic forms. Through the artist’s use of bas relief and thin iridescent washes of color, the sculptures emit a preternatural lightness, shimmering and atmospheric in their monumentality.

Ryan Johnson was born in 1978 in Karachi, Pakistan. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Johnson received his BFA from Pratt Institute followed by a MFA from Columbia University in 2003. Solo exhibitions include Guild & Greyshkul, NY; Sikkema Jenkins and Co., NY; LFL Gallery, NY; Suzanne Geiss Company, NY; and Franco Soffiantino Arte Contemporanea, Turin. Recent group exhibitions include James Fuentes, NY; Venus of Los Angeles, LA; Marlborough Chelsea, NY; Sculpture Center, NY; Leroy Neiman Gallery, NY; and White Flag Projects, St. Louis.