Art Gallery You Should Know : Johansson Projects
Many years ago Kimberly Johansson moved here from Chicago to start a new beginning in the art world. A former art consultant in Chicago and director for San Francisco’s Weinstein Gallery, Kimberly left the blue-chip art scene to start her own project, Johansson Projects. 10+ years later, Johansson Projects is showcasing museum quality art that most people wouldn’t think they would see in a gallery. I recently asked Kimberly what her process was in accepting artists’ submissions, and her reply was that she looks for the art that she wants to show and contacts the artist. This is probably due to the fact that she transforms her gallery to a space where artists reinvent what walls are, and the viewer can walk into an environment that makes them forget their week at work.
I have to say, Kimberly has got a great eye for picking beautiful things. Last month, artists Rachel Kaye and Jay Nelson recreated their art studio inside Johansson Projects. In two weeks, Jay Nelson built a submarine-like studio out of wood, where the viewer can walk in and see his and Rachel Kaye’s paintings separated by a wire wall. On one side of the wall, Nelson’s work hangs, back faced to the other side of the wire wall where Kaye’s painting sits, offering a glimpse of the two artists everyday life, and exploring the concept of the word unit and marriage alongside separation and independence.
This Friday, Nov.6th from 5-8pm, Johansson Projects presents artists Anna Fidler and Katy Stone. Both artists from the Pacific NW, come together for the show Coastal Coven. One may enter the gallery in a dreamlike state, as both artists tackle alchemy and the transmutation of the natural. Inspired by rituals and dream, Fidler captures a boundary between this world and where others could easily be crossed, in her energetic gouache paintings. Utilizing the gouache medium that is known for its flatness and weight alongside acrylic paint and colored pencils,fFidler’s Ghost Parade, moves lightly like it’s dancing spirits it depicts. Focused on the Samhain ritual of Celtic folklore, which starts at the evening of Oct.31st and ends at the dusk of Nov.1st, Ghost Parade celebrates the fall winter harvest offerings that feed the spirits who protect the crops until the following year. In a painting style reminiscent of pointillism, the spirits from the Samhain ritual seem to be coming alive from the earth and move around a muted, pastel-colored, Stonehenge-like structure.
Katy Stone continues Coastal Coven with her incorporating a medium that captures weight and light, offering a metaphor for the material world in flux. A full-time artist since 2007, Stone mostly works on public art commissions, and it is a treat to see her work in Johansson Projects. Seattle based Stone is influenced by the supernatural world and how it coincides with the natural and reflects such in her geographic landscapes. Using laser-cut oil on aluminum, her black and red Forest Eye, reminds the viewer of what is happening to our forests by flame. Like Fidler, Stone captures forces and forms between the momentary and place of time, and their material dissolution. In Heap, non-concentric circular shapes layer each other with smooth lines connecting each form, while the light of the piece is shown in its negative space of the white walls of the gallery combined with a splash of orange color in the middle, reflecting the burn from coals on a fire. Although the imagery may sound literal, each piece is more suggestive than obvious in its embracing of nature.
As heavy as the subject matter, and objects themselves, there is weightlessness to Coastal Coven. Artists Anna Fidler and Kay Stone transform Johansson Projects once again, to a world in and around us. Come hither.