Born in 1965 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Geoffrey Johnson graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he received a number of awards and prizes for his artistic excellence. Since 1995, he has exhibited in galleries and venues throughout the United States. His paintings may be found in many private and corporate collections including those of Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting, BellSouth, and Wells Fargo.
Johnson draws much of his inspiration from his travel experiences and first-hand observations. Using a monochromatic palette of sepia hues, the artist says he strives to reproduce the places that inspire him. Johnson’s work is strongly evocative of the French Impressionists’ depictions of city life, interior spaces, and equestrian scenes. From Gustave Caillebotte’s steely, atmospheric renderings of foggy Paris streets and dusky rooftops to Degas’ spindly-legged racehorses, the influence of these artists upon Johnson’s painting is readily visible. His manner of distorting the human figure has also been likened to the skeletal, surreal forms of Alberto Giacometti.
Johnson has established himself as a true innovator, successfully capturing the alluring space between abstraction and realism. A fascination with both the human figure and the powerful architecture of a modern city plays a large role in his work. Through a feeling of anonymity, figures become suggestive shapes and the skyline of New York materializes mysteriously in the background. Johnson’s paintings embody the mood of each urban experience.
Johnson has “always been attracted to interiors, work spaces [and] personal spaces.” Inspired by a box of vintage photographs, the artist has created many sepia toned interiors, as well as scenes in which he broadens his palette, experimenting with brighter colors to help reveal the detail and beauty of the historic homes of the South. In the studio, he tends to work on several paintings at once, to keep ideas fresh and to avoid becoming limited by one particular style. When preparing a scene, Johnson is drawn to high contrast and images with strong light. For Johnson, each painting is the culmination of “a thousand different decisions, thoughts and feelings” that produce timeless works possessing both simple elegance and haunting solitude.