By Sharne Wolff…
With a full kaleidoscope of commingling colour combinations Matthew Johnson’s new exhibition, Coalescence, radiates the air of an early spring. Johnson is an experienced painter who has been showing his work both in Australia and internationally since the mid 1980s.
Coalescence comprises the artist’s most recent oil paintings on linen and a number of smaller pictures made using gouache on paper. If the title of the show is any giveaway, the artist has concerned himself with colour union and movement. But we already know that. What is more interesting is the way Johnson’s abstract landscapes are a reflection of the environment and nature but, like the lyrics of a song, each viewer constructs a personal meaning from even a small glimpse of the familiar. The midday sun on an empty beach, light playing on clear seas, the beginning of an evening and so on.
In a similar way to many Aboriginal painters Johnson captures the shimmer and effervescence of the Australian landscape while simultaneously evoking a spiritual meaning. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”
Until 12 August 2012
Tim Olsen Gallery, Woollahra
Pic: Mathew Johnson Aqua Empyrean, 2012 oil on canvas 150 x 170cm. Courtesy the artist and Tim Olsen Gallery.