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Monash Art Design & Architecture

Monash University

Monash Art Design & Architecture


20 November 2017
Until 14 Jan
Helen Johnson: Ends
New Museum, New York
13 Sep 2017 – 14 Jan 2018
Helen Johnson: Ends

Helen Johnson, Bad debt, 2016 (detail). Acrylic on canvas, 149 5/8 × 126 in (380 × 320 cm). Courtesy the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery, London; Château Shatto, Los Angeles; Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. Copyright the artist. Photo: Mark Blower

An exhibition of work by MADA Lecturer Dr Helen Johnson. For over a decade, Johnson has used painting as a tool to investigate issues around the legacy of colonialism, the construction of national identity, personal history, and contemporary politics in her native Australia.

Exhibition: 13 September 2017 – 14 January 2018

New Museum
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Johnson’s densely layered canvases incorporate historical imagery ranging from political cartoons, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century painting, architectural diagrams and maps, fragments of bodies, and handwritten text rendered with a variety of painterly gestures. Often double-sided and scaled to the human body, Johnson’s works are arranged in carefully composed installations, positioning the viewer at the intersection of a broad range of cultural and historical influences. Although driven by a deep and rigorous process of historical research, her paintings adopt a playful and even humorous take on historical memory and ingrained social conventions. “Helen Johnson: Ends” is the artist’s first exhibition in an American institution. For her presentation in the museum’s lobby gallery, she will produce a new series that extends her broader thematic concerns, while maintaining her experimental approach to the material and the communicative possibilities of painting as a critical medium.

“Helen Johnson: Ends” is curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator.

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