Tim Olsen Gallery
Michael  Johnson

Michael Johnson

In 1960, following the completion of his studies in Sydney at the
Julian Ashton Art School and the National Art School, Michael Johnson
departed for London, where he spent the following seven years. During
this time he painted full time, working periodically as a studio
assistant to the British sculptors Brian Wall and Anthony Caro. In
1967, he returned to Sydney, where he held his first two solo
exhibitions, thus marking the beginning of a long and outstanding
career.



Michael Johnson’s work is marked by a metaphysical orchestration of
colour and a muscularity of presence. His paintings (and occasional
works in three dimensions) are romantic in essence; in their
application, they are raw and intuitive, deeply connected to his
intense and complex relationships with nature, natural process and
mood. This is most tangibly so in his works of the past decade, where
ruptured, sinewed application of base, primary colour performs an opera
of gestures and painterly manoeuvres.



Michael Johnson has exhibited widely both nationally and
internationally, and was included in the seminal exhibitions, ‘The
Field’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and Art Gallery of New
South Wales, Sydney (1968); the UNESCO Biennale, France (1968); the São
Paulo Bienal, Brazil (1969); and The Australian Biennale, Art Gallery
of New South Wales, Sydney (1988).



Among Johnson’s awards and commissions are works for the Sydney
Conference Centre and the State Bank of New South Wales, Sydney. He is
represented in all major Australian state and regional collections, New
Zealand’s Chartwell Collection, and in numerous significant corporate
and private collections in Australia and overseas. Beagle Press
published a substantial monograph on Michael Johnson’s work in 2004.

BIOGRAPHY

1938 Born Sydney, Australia

1953–59 Studied at Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney

Diploma of Art, National Art School, Sydney

1960–67 Lived in London

1962–63 Brian Wall (Steel Sculpture), Studio Assistant

1963–64 Michael Kidner (built and constructed three-dimensional painting), Studio Assistant

1964–65 Anthony Caro (rebuilt and painted ‘Madam Pompadour' aluminium), worked with Ron Robertson Swann and repainted all steel works of Caro (1960–65), Studio Assistant

1969–75 Lived and worked in the United States

1963–85 Lecturer: St Martins School of Art, London; Croydon School of Art, London;

Birmingham School of Art, United Kingdom; East Sydney Technical College, Sydney; Alexander Mackie College, Sydney; Sydney College of Arts, Sydney; James Cook University, Townsville; Newcastle College of Advanced Education, NSW; Goulburn College of Advanced Education, NSW; Brisbane Arts Council, QLD; University of New South Wales, Sydney; City Art Institute, Sydney; Crown Lane School of Art, Sydney; Silpakorn University Nakhon, Pathom, Thailand

1980–81 Collaborated with Robert Klippel (convexed/concaved colour on constructivist steel-type sculpture spray painted)

Currently Lives and works in Sydney



Solo exhibitions

2007 Sherman Galleries, Sydney

2003 Sherman Galleries, Sydney

Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane

2002 Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

2001 Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

1999 Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

1998 Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

1997 Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

1996 Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

1995 Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

1994 Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

1993 Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

1992 Studio exhibition, Jarocin Ave, Forest Lodge, NSW

1991 Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

1990 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

1989 Michael Johnson, Survey 1968–1988, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; travelled to Moree, Wollongong, NSW

Forum, Invitational Art Fair, Hamburg, West Germany

1988 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

1986 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

University Gallery, University of Melbourne, Melbourne

Christine Abrahams Gallery, Melbourne

1985 Studio exhibition, Pitt Street, Haymarket, Sydney

Gallery 52, Perth

1983–84 Studio exhibition, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney

1982 Studio exhibition, Greene Street New York, 237 Lafayette, New York

Pinacotheca Gallery, Melbourne

1981 Gallery A, Sydney

1980 Gallery A, Sydney

1979 Gallery A, Sydney

1977 Gallery A, Sydney

Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York

1976 Gallery A, Sydney

Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Abraxor Gallery, Canberra

1975 Studio exhibition, James Cook University, QLD

1974 Gallery A, Sydney

Studio exhibition, Bowery, New York

1973 Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York

1972 Gallery A, Sydney

1970 Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York

1969 Gallery A, Melbourne

1968 Central Street Gallery, Sydney

Gallery A, Sydney

1967 Central Street Gallery, Sydney

Gallery A, Sydney



Selected group exhibitions

2004 Abstracting the Collection, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

2002 20 Years of Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

2001 minimal, Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth

Five Painters, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

A Century of Collecting 1901–2001, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney

1999 The Rose Crossing Contemporary Art in Australia, Sherman Galleries touring exhibition, Brisbane City Gallery, Brisbane; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth; S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney; Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery, NSW

1996–98 Flagging the Republic, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney and touring to regional galleries

1997 Anon, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

Geometric Painting in Australia 1941–1997, University Art Museum, Melbourne

1996 La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris

Greg Weight, Artists' Portraits, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney

1995 NICAF, Nagoya, Japan

Smorgon Collection of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Asia & Oceania Influence, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney

1994 On Paper, Solander Gallery, Canberra

1993 On Paper, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney

Australian Tapestries, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

1990 Central Street, Charles Nodrum Gallery, Melbourne; Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney

1989 Painters' Visions, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

Joye Art Foundation, Baudoin Lebon Gallery, Paris

1988 Macquarie Galleries, Sydney

Australian Biennale, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

1987 Field to Figuration 1960–86, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Art/LA 87, Los Angeles Art Fair, USA

1986 A Resistant Spirit, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; Realities Gallery, Melbourne

1985 Subject of Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Lecturers of East Sydney Technical College Art School, Cell Block, Darlinghurst, Sydney

1984 The Field Now, Heide Park and Art Gallery, Melbourne

Recent Australian Painting, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

1983 Survey Australian Painting, Commonwealth Bank, Sydney

Recent Australian Painting: A Survey 1973–83, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Aspects of the Landscape, Gallery 52, Perth

Twelve Australian Painters, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

The Wrong Place: Five Sydney Painters, Tasmanian School of Art Gallery, University of Tasmania, Hobart

1982 ANZAAS 82 (Eleven Sydney Artists), Macquarie University Library, Sydney

Colour Painting, Jacques Spiess Gallery, Paris

The Seventies: Australian Paintings and Tapestries From The National Australia Bank Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

1981 Survey of the Seventies, Bendigo Art Gallery, VIC

1980 Opening Show, Axiom Gallery, Melbourne

1979 Cambodia, Central Street Gallery, Sydney

1978 Contemporary Australian Art to Indonesia, Landscape and Image, A.D.G.C.

1977 Australian Colourists, Western Australian Institute of Technology, Perth

1975 Ten Australians, Gallery A, Sydney

1974 Young New York Artists, travelling exhibition, USA

1972 Australian Paintings and Tapestries of The Past 20 Years, NSW House, London

1970 Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York

Colour and Structure, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney

1969 São Paulo Bienal, Brazil

Gallery A, Sydney

Gallery A, Melbourne

1968 Renting Collection Exhibition, Pinacotheca Gallery, Melbourne

Painters and Sculptors of the Gallery, Central Street Gallery, Sydney

21st Show, Central Street Gallery, Sydney

Georges' Invitation Art Prize Exhibition, Georges Gallery, Melbourne

Pinacotheca, Melbourne

UNESCO Biennale, Museum Grimaldi, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France

The Field, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1967 Central Street Gallery, Sydney

New Generation Sydney, Gallery A, Sydney

1963–64 Young Commonwealth Artists, RBA Galleries, London

New Vision Centre, London

Qantas Gallery, Sydney

Australian Painting and Sculpture in Europe Today, Arts Centre Folkstone, London; Stadtliches Kunstinstitut Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany

John Moore's Gallery, Liverpool, UK

1962–63 Molton Gallery, London

1962 Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London

Commonwealth Festival/Biennale, Commonwealth Institute, London



Awards and commissions

1989 Sydney Conference Centre, NSW

1986 Visual Arts Board (Artist-in-Residence), The University of Melbourne, Melbourne

1984 Mural, State Bank of New South Wales, NSW

1983 Tapestry, Waverley Council Civic Centre, Victoria

1981 Visual Arts Board (New York Studio), New York

1980 Camden Art Society (Works on Paper), NSW

1976 Gold Coast Art Prize (Painting), QLD

1975 Visual Arts Board (Artist-in-Residence grant), Sydney

James Cook University, Townsville, QLD

1974 Visual Arts Board (Grant), Sydney

1967 R. H. Taft's Prize, Contemporary Art Society Annual Exhibition, Sydney



Collections

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

Parliament House, Canberra

Ballarat Art Gallery, VIC

Burnie Art Gallery, TAS

Gold Coast City Art Gallery Collection, QLD

Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW

New England Regional Art Museum, NSW

Wollongong Art Gallery, NSW

Australian National University, Canberra

James Cook University, Townsville, QLD

Monash University, Clayton, VIC

The University of Melbourne Art Collection, Melbourne

State Library of Western Australia, Perth

Camden Council Art Collection, NSW

Townsville Council Art Collection, QLD

Waverley Council Art Collection, VIC

Artbank

Joye Foundation, NSW

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NSW

Commercial Union Insurance, VIC

Daryl Jackson, VIC

Holmes à Court Collection, Perth

Hyatt Adelaide, SA

Hyatt on Collins, Melbourne

Medibank, Sydney

National Bank of Australasia, Melbourne

Park Grand Hotel, NSW

Philip Cox and Partners, NSW

Sly and Weigall, NSW

State Bank Australia

Telstra, Sydney

Westfield, NSW

Westpac, NSW

Westpac Collection, Sydney

Yulara Tourist Resort, Northern Territory

Chartwell Collection, Waikato Museum of Art & History, Hamilton, NZ

Chase Manhattan, New York

Croydon Education Committee, London



Selected bibliography

Patrick McCaughey, 'The significance of the Field', Art & Australia, December 1968

Kym Bonython (ed.), Modern Australian Painting 1960–1970, Rigby, Adelaide, 1970

Elwyn Lynn, 'Australian abstractions in the New York melting-pot', The Bulletin, 5 December 1970

Lawrence Campbell, Art News, vol. 69, no. 8, 21 December 1970, p. 8

W. Domingo, Arts Magazine, vol. 45, December 1970, p. 58

Carter Ratcliff, ‘New York Letter’, Art International, summer 1973, pp. 60–62,

Lenore Goldberg, ‘Clear vision’, Arts Magazine, September–October 1973

Peter Frank, ‘He's matured, put on weight in New York’, The Age, 9 February 1972

Peter Frank, Art News, summer, May 1973, p. 92

Mervyn Horton (ed.), Australian Painters of the 70s, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1975

Tony McGillick, ‘A viable future for painting’, Nation Review, 30 June – 6 July 1977, p. 22

Ron Radford, Recent Australian Painting: A Survey 1970–1983, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 1983

Paul McGillick, The Subject of Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1985

Michael Johnson Paintings 1968–1986, University Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1986

Terence Maloon, ‘Thick skin is shed, a butterfly is exposed’, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 March 1986

Gary Catalano, ’Abstracts filled with an emotional substance’, The Age, 20 August 1986

Tony Bond, Surface for Reflection Part s I & II, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1987

Robert Lindsay, Field to Figuration: Australian Art 1960–1986, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1987

Minimal Art in Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, 1988

Victoria Lynn, Michael Johnson Paintings 1968–1988, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1989

Christopher Allen, ‘An exuberant Johnson turns new artist at 50’, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 February 1989

Paul McGillick, 'The abstract in perspective', Australian Financial Review, 17 February 1989

Catharine Lumby, ‘Abstraction’, West, vol. 3, no. 2, 1992

Elwyn Lynn, ‘Capturing the new shape of abstraction’, The Weekend Australian,

20–21 February, 1993

Felicity Fenner, 'Orchestrating virtuosity', Sydney Morning Herald, 20 March 1993

Joanna Mendelssohn, 'Bunch of tens', The Bulletin, December 1993

Felicity Fenner, 'Metaphoric waiting room', Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 1994

Nevill Drury, Images 2: Contemporary Australian Painting, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1994

John McDonald, 'The origins of the artistic species', Sydney Morning Herald, 16 September 1995

Paul McGillick, 'From luminous fields of pure colour to seething surfaces', Monument, no. 10, 1995

Joanna Mendelssohn, '1968 Primavera', The Australian, 15 September 1995

Carolynne Skinner & Alexandra Morphett, 'Gastronomy as Art', Oz Art, no. 12, September–December 1995

TECCA 2, Joan and Peter Clemenger Triennial Exhibition of Contemporary Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 1996, pp. 18–19

Susan McCulloch, 'Triennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art', Asian Art News, May–June 1996

Angela Bennie, 'Another way of seeing', Sydney Morning Herald, 12 September 1997

John McDonald, 'Dreaming in colour', Sydney Morning Herald, 13 September 1997

Sebastian Smee, ‘Colour splendid’, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 1999

Bruce James, ‘Order from chaos’, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 1999

Eccles, Jeremy, ‘Reflections of the melting pot’, Asia Week, ‘Arts & Sciences Olympic Games’,

21 January 2000, pp. 42–43

‘Contemporary Art in Australia Exhibition’, Elle (Hong Kong), no. 146, December 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Esquire (Hong Kong), no. 133,

December 1999

‘13 hybridisation stories’, Hong Kong Economic Journal, 3 December 1999

‘The hybrid rose’, Sing Tao Daily News, 26 November 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Ming Pao Weekly, 27 November 1999

‘13 Australian Artists’ Association Art Exhibition’, Ta Kung Pao, 3 December 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Youth’s Bi-Weekly, 4 December 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, W, no. 6, December 1999

‘Symbols full of artificial expression’, Ming Pao Daily News, 9 December 1999

‘The Rose Crossing’, Ming Pao Daily News, 5 December 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Sing Tao Daily News, 7 December 1999

‘Hybrid culture = Australian culture?’, Ming Pao Daily News, 9 December 1999

‘The Rose Crossing’, Hong Kong Economic Journal, 15 December 1999

‘The fantasies of immigrant art’, Chinese Newspaper, 26 November 1999

‘Cultural event: The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Ming Pao Daily News,

28 November 1999

‘The Rose Crossing exhibition and Dale Barlow Quartet concert’, Ming Pao Daily News,

28 November 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Hong Kong Economic Journal,

24 November 1999

‘The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, Sing Tao Daily News, 29 November 1999

‘Hybridisation: The Rose Crossing: Contemporary Art in Australia’, East Touch,

30 November 1999

Paul McGillick, ‘Canvassing opinions’, Panorama, July 2001

’50 of Australia’s most collectable artists’, Australian Art Collector, no. 27, January–March, 2004

Barry Pearce, Michael Johnson, Beagle Press, Sydney, 2004

Angela Bennie, ‘Eruptions from the volcano’, Metropolitan, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2004, p. 12

Laura Murray Cree (ed.), Twenty: Sherman Galleries 1986–2006, Craftsman House (Thames & Hudson Australia), Melbourne, 2006

Carmel Dwyer, ‘Relaxed and confident’, Australian Art Collector, no. 38, October–December 2006, pp. 189–193

Anthony Huckstep, 'A decorative degustation', Australian Art Review, November 2006 – February 2007, pp. 82–86

Paul McGillick, Australian Art Collector, no. 39, January–March 2007

Karen Pakula, ‘I still have 500 paintings to do’, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, 24–25 March 2007, pp. 18–19

John McDonald, ‘The meaning of colour’, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 March – 1 April 2007, pp. 16–17




 

 

 
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