Tim Johnson’s ‘Mise en Scene’ presents a gathering of extraordinarily compelling paintings that embrace the spiritual iconography of a range of cultures. With his own unique artistic language, his paintings are an infusion of pulsating, floating and shimmering landscapes, fields of colour, dots and multi cultural iconography, mythology and imagery. In combination the visual energy and infusion of Australian Aboriginal Papunya dot painting, Buddhist, Hindu, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese symbols from traditional and contemporary culture is somewhat transporting or transcendental, to a different consciousness or metaphysical field, ‘floating world’ or ‘Buddhist Pure Land’. Cross cultural referencing in Johnson’s paintings is implemented through a process of intellectual involvement, respect, collective dialogue, and collaboration with artists from different cultural and religious traditions, a result of Johnson’s belief in an art that is induced from life experience.
Speaking of the exhibition Tim says “Mise en Scene refers to the arrangement and stage properties in a play or film, it means setting the stage and describes everything on the stage or facing the camera. That’s how I see painting itself – the artist invokes a complicated set of processes where imagery, appropriations, transcriptions, ideas, juxtapositions, confluences, materials and experience come together to offer an alternate reality.
These paintings are ‘of reality’ but at the same time they exist in their own staged artificial world. To quote Gerard de Nerval ‘Our dreams are a second life. I have never been able to cross through those gates of ivory or horn which separate us from the invisible world without a sense of dread.’ But for me paintings are more like dreams and it’s the real world that brings a sense of dread.”