Celia Johnson


I create paintings with a collage sensibility. They are informed by an ongoing investigation into the effects of color and form
in various states of collision. It is an idealist, modernist interest that has manifested as a non-referential, rhythmic, geometric abstraction. 
I structure figure/ground relationships and explore the push-pull of form and color in the space within the edges of the rectangle.
Here I am viscerally exploring how painting and collage can formally work together.  Each new concept is an immersion in shifting planes 
and forms that afford limitless experimentation in which I attempt to mine the dual role that color can play both as content and as structure. 
The work has a dynamic, haptic quality, as if one could reach in and shift, reposition or rearrange the layers within the frame.
Saturated flat color fields are layered and shuffled in degrees of reveal to float above or recede beneath the picture plane. 

I disrupt and concretize the immaculate color planes of the composition through scraped and incised marks on the picture surface.
This reveals the layers beneath so that the final image is not only the outcome of a sequencing of flat layers but also has painterly gestural qualities.
The resulting work is a freeze frame of a kinetic procedure.  

While the work is formally intuitive, it is calculated in its design and plotting, playing juxtaposed elements and relational situations 
against one another in the layering and building of the planar surfaces. This is the continuation of a utopian fascination with color-as-form
that began in my childhood, and which continued to inspire through my discovery of the revelatory work of the Russian avant-garde,
the De Stijl group, the Bauhaus, and the Polish constructivists Strzemiński & Kobro.


b. St Louis, Missouri

Lives and works in Chapel Hill, NC


2001  MPS  Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) , Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

1990   Visiting Student, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf

1975   BFA   California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA 

Selected exhibitions


Grey | Gray (Matter), Divisible Projects, Front Street, Dayton OH, Curated by Jeffrey Cortland Jones

Chrysalistasis, Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY, curated by James Austin Murray

Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina PaintingNorth Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, curated by Ashlynn Browning

North Carolina Women Abstract Painters, GreenHill Center for North Carolina Art, Greensboro, NC, curated by Edie Carpenter

A Short Survey of Contemporary Abstraction, Sandy Bennett Art Gallery, Bergen Performing Arts Center, Englewood, NJ, curated by James Austin Murray

Artist - Collector, A Contemporary Print Exhibition, Rewaq Gallery, College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, curated by Brian Gonzales

Winter Show, GreenHill Center for NC Art, Greensboro, NC, curated by Edie Carpenter

OnEdge, The Painting Center, New York, NY, curated by Susan Post

The Idiosyncratic Pencil, Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery, Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC, curated by Ann Stoddard 

STATE OF THE ART/ART OF THE STATE, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC, 

JUXTAPOSITION, Gallery IIArtSpace, Raleigh, NC

Monster Drawing Rally 2017, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

DIALECTICAL PRAXIS | Celia Johnson & Donald Martiny, Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT 

Made In Paint, Sam & Adele Golden Foundation, The SAGG, New Berlin, NY

FICTION (With Only Daylight Between Us) v.2, Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI; Raygun Projects,Toowoomba, AustraliaClass Room, Coventry, England; Universtiy of California, Berkeley, CA

Nasty Women Exhibition: Durham, The Carrack Modern Art, Durham, NC

Celebrate Diversity, Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT

Monster Drawing Rally 2016, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC

FICTION (With Only Daylight Between Us) v.2, Corridor Projects, Dayton, OH, Also traveling to Boecker Contemporary, Heidelberg, Germany, curated by Jeffrey Courtland Jones

New Geometry, Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT

Art in America On Tour, Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery, Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC, curated by Julie Torres and Ann Stoddard

Holiday Exhibition, Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT

WONDERMENT, Hunt Hill Farm - Silo Gallery, New Milford, CT, curated by Jessica Jane Russell

Clint Jukkala & John Newman with works by Celia Johnson, Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT

InFocus Gallery | Works on Paper, GreenHill Space for NC Art, Greensboro, NC

Some Assembly Required, The Curator Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Mark Wethli

21 and Counting, The Painting Center, New York, NY

COLOR | FORM, Horace Williams House, Chapel Hill, NC (solo)
 Patterson | Suggs | Johnson, LIGHT Art + Design, Chapel Hill, NC 

Little Somethings, ParisCONCRET, Paris, France

Winter Show, GreenHill Space for NC Art, Greensboro, NC

Form Gesture Vision, 311 West Martin Street Gallery, Raleigh, NC

North Carolina Artists Exhibition, Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC (Juror, William Dunlap) 

Open Source, Visual Art Exchange Gallery, Raleigh, NC - Juried by Elysia Borowy-Reeder, Executive Director, Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC

Exchange Gallery, Visual Art Exchange Gallery, Raleigh, NC 

This & That, Harris Warren Gallery, Wake Forest, NC 

Paintings for Midsummer, HighPoint Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (solo)

POST:  Philadelphia Open Studios, Herman Street Studios, Philadelphia, PA

Artist Registries

The Painting Center, New York, NY, Curated Artist Registry

Awards | Grants | Residencies

The Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, New Berlin, NY, Exploratory Residency Grant

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA, Artist Resident and Grant Recipient2015
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Artist Resident and Grant Recipient
International Encaustic Conference, Provincetown, MA, Scholarship Tuition Award

Public Collections

Credit Suisse Corporate Collection, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

Public Artist Talks | Panels

Artists Panel Discussion, The Painting Center, New York, NY with Sue Post, curator - on occasion of On Edge exhibition

Artist Talk, ArtSpace NC, Raleigh NC - on occasion of Juxtapostion exhibition

Artist Talk, Giampietro Gallery, New Haven CT - on occasion of Dialectical Praxis exhibition 

Artist Talk, Horace Williams House, Chapel Hill, NC, - on occasion of Color | Form exhibition

Professional Experience

2003-2005     Adjunct Instructor, Illustration/Design StudioMaryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

1997-1999     Adjunct Instructor, Illustration/Design StudioMaryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

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