Artist’s Statement

 GRANT JOHNSON

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

                My work is primarily concerned with translation.  It may be from my memory to marks on paper, from two dimensions to four dimensions, or from text to image, but I am always interested in what may be lost and gained in translation.  This fascination has its roots in my early discovery that my perception of the three dimensional world around me could be translated into marks on a two dimensional piece of paper.  The resulting drawings corresponded to their subjects, but were also completely different; flattened and fixed.  Although my interests have moved beyond representational verisimilitude, a commitment to artistic translation remains the driving force of my varied practice.

A closely related idea in my practice is that infinite complexity can erupt from simple components and conditions.  This leads me to explore recursive transformations and mappings of 2D and 3D geometric figures that result in hundreds or thousands of unique figures.  I am obsessive about the process of discovery by which the new figures may be discovered, and the whole project reflects the ongoing work of both the natural world and human endeavor.

At the moment, the centerpiece of that practice is a series of experimental videos that use media computation software to generate “animations” built from the individual pixels of digital images of masterpieces from the history of art.  The results of these translations from two dimensions to four dimensions are flickering, ephemeral swaths of color-in-time capable of totally transforming the spaces in which they are projected.  As insubstantial as they seem, they nevertheless maintain a connection to their tangible sources.  A viewer watching the animation of the Mona Lisa, for example, can recognize the transition from background to hair, and from hair to skin tone.  The soundtracks, partly recorded in front of the actual artworks wherever they are on display, envelope the viewer in a three dimensional sound space where the noises of one gallery are transposed to another, creating a sonic hall of mirrors.

In addition to these videos, my creative output includes traditional print, sculpture, drawing, and painting, as well as interactive installations, and sound-based work.  I am deeply committed to the practice of writing, and have made many pieces incorporating text.  My training as a printmaker engendered a deep passion for process and materials.  Although those processes and “materials” are often now digital, I remain eager to learn new ways of making.

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