News Archive

For immediate release, November 13, 2009

Jonathan Johnson
New paintings
November 14 – December 19, 2009

Opening: Saturday, November 14, artist present 2-5PM

Harbour Lights, 2009, 36 x 42 inches, oil on canvas

New Field, 2009, 24 x 33 inches, oil on canvas

We are pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jonathan Johnson, to be presented by the Wynick/Tuck Gallery, opening on Saturday, November, 14th 2009. The artist will present from 2-5pm.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery presented the first public gallery exhibition of Johnson’s work in 2005.  Johnson's teacher and mentor, Gerald Ferguson, wrote the introduction for the exhibition pamphlet.  Here it is in full.

"Once in a great while a teacher encounters a student that has full command of painting skills. All that remains is to offer the suggestion of an accent here or the weight of a mark there to strengthen the work. Teaching then is no longer a job but a pleasurable exercise in connoisseurship. Jonathan Johnson was such a student. In the years following his graduation from NSCAD I have followed his work closely and rarely can I now offer a suggestion to improve his work.

It seems that the lesson of art history directs most students toward the Modernist notion of progress in art causing them to look for a novel device or subject only to remain adrift with few, if any, references to measure the quality of their work. Jonathan ignores that Modernist notion by choosing an established convention. Working as a landscape painter he is not only honouring a tradition, but is able to measure himself by comparing what he does with a myriad of examples available to him first hand. Only when there is something to compare to can true progress be made. With subject matter as a given, one is left to ponder the how of painting. In all painting it is never the what but the how that tells you the difference between good and bad painting. One can comment on the subject matter of Michelangelo or Monet’s paintings but that is not an artistic question. To judge the artistic merit of their work you must turn to how their paintings were executed. Only then can you know if they did it well, or very well, and occasionally, not so well at all.

It is on that basis we are able to judge the paintings of Jonathan Johnson. Through our shared experience in looking at landscape paintings we intuit how good the how of his work is and we come away agreeing that his paintings are very good.”