Megan Johnson, Painter

A R T I S T   S T A T E M E N T

Nothing is permanent. Natural environments evolve toward abstraction because the most natural state of all is that of perpetual motion.

 My new body of work focuses on the flattening of time and memory within transient spaces, where time is condensed into one still image through layers of experiential memories. Can painting capture time and memory, not as mere snapshots, but as ephemera that change and fade? To explore this idea, I work primarily in large scale so that the act of making the work is itself an immersive experience, enabling a clearer expression of memories and movement. 

 In capturing memory's ephemeral nature, I draw from the immediacy of experiences in the natural world. The result is never a particular scene, place or time, but rather a layering of impressions and connections, in which each layer represents a continuum of recent memories, whose span can vary from a few minutes to several hours. The memories are allowed to layer, one over another, sometimes bleeding through or altering what has come before. Some memories decay, some are rebuilt, some are destroyed and some are obscured by those that follow. The mediums and materials I choose for each piece and the way I manipulate them are purposed specifically toward bringing out the textural quality of each memory and experience. For this reason, I have chosen to work in both oil on canvas and watercolor on stretched paper. Watercolor paintings on paper are stretched over wood frames to allow for the work to be created at all angles—horizontally, vertically and everything in between. Via this process, paints can be poured, dry-brushed or sprayed. Layers are thus built and then eroded. Both mediums utilize a combination of exposed surfaces. When exposed, the raw canvas projects its own color, its own layer and its own version of memory. At completion, the final work is a purposely and intricately layered expression of both the physicality of the creation itself, as well as the idea that memory on top of memory can endure, obscure or interrelate to create something that is not only new, but in perpetual flux—the same way that our lives in retrospect are never defined by any singular thing, but in fact by a wealth of emotions and experiences, in changing proportions, all at once.

 

A B O U T

Megan Johnson is a painter and has experience and training as an architect. She grew up in the coastal plains of North Carolina, and, after spending several years in the hilly neighborhoods of San Francisco, she is now immersed in Los Angeles and its adjacent ocean.