Nicholas Johnson (b. 1982, Hawaii) is a London-based artist that uses painting to reflect on his birthplace, which reveals itself in the intense hues and tropical – often invented – botanies. The unnatural colouration and regimented arrangements of his plants point to models of order and chaos in the natural world that lie outside the ordinary boundaries of perception.
Johnson studied philosophy before completing an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2014. His paintings are renderings of his research on – and long fascination with – the subject of plant consciousness, interspecies communication and ancient technologies of perceptual and cognitive augmentation. Johnson studies the emerging science of plant sentience, the nonhuman turn in contemporary theory of systems and ecology, and these in connection with ethnobotanical accounts of ancient indigenous knowledge and mythologies. Their paintings are underpinned by an idiosyncratic academicism, most often recorded in encyclopaedic texts and catalogues that accompany exhibitions of his work.
NABO Art Stage, Visuals. Brussels (2023); Plus One, Antwerp, Belgium (2022); Peter von Kant, London (2022); Walker Art Museum, Liverpool (2018); Flat Time House, London (2016); Art Brussels, Belgium (2018); Montoro 12 Contemporary, Rome (2016); The Averard Hotel, Slate Projects/Averard Hotel, London (2014); The Catlin Prize, London/Newcastle Project Space, London (2015); The Edit, Dubai; Artvisor, London (2019); Podium, Oslo and House of Egorn, London (2016).
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