One of the two artists featured in Beacon Gallery’s “Layers & Light” is Aja Johnson. Through her abstract works, Johnson explores vulnerability, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Her work is quite appropriate for the gallery’s current show, as her abstract pieces showcase intricate layering. Johnson describes these layers as “murky and confusing, unfolding slowly, like an onion.”
Johnson’s pieces immediately capture one’s attention. The brilliant tones of each of her paintings are hard to ignore. Her scattered brushstrokes and gestural marks serve as a distraction to the chaos underneath – the so-called “secrets” that are hidden in each of her pieces.
Aja Johnson, You’re Asking All the Wrong Questions (Acrylic ink and paper on canvas)
Featured in Artscope, Johnson tells Lisa Mikulski that any piece can combine between 15 and 20 layers of paint, collaged items, and mark making. While looking at her abstract works, one can almost get lost within them. Although there is a lot going on in each work, there is a real sense of control that Johnson demonstrates – leaving certain areas deliberately uncovered by paint.
Aja Johnson, You Can’t Keep a Peacock Down (mixed media)
Sometimes, Johnson physically carves into her paintings. In “You Can’t Keep a Peacock Down,” she consciously reveals the “unknown” that is hidden by the surface layer by etching into the surface in various areas on the canvas. After all, Johnson believes that “the surface is fake news, and we have to look beyond it to see the real story underneath.”
Come discover the “real story” that Aja Johnson reveals in each of her works. “Layers & Light” will run through June 17th! We hope to see you there.