‘Leadbelly’ was first exhibited in Tim Johnson’s exhibition Nom de plume. Within this work, the artist fuses Buddhist imagery from Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese traditions with dot work that he learned from Papunya artists in a dazzling floating world. Suspended in the centre of this work is iconic Blues singer Leadbelly, referencing Johnson’s formative obsessions. Other influences that pepper the works in this exhibition include UFOs, World Cinema and Romantic French poets such as Arthur Rimbaud and Gerard De Nerval (who kept a pet lobster).
Tim Johnson is a celebrated Sydney-based artist whose practices have continually been at the forefront of contemporary art in Australia. He has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally with major works shown at Documenta IX in Kassel, Germany, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Royal Academy of Arts, London, the Gallery of Modern Art in Queensland, the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the Art Gallery of NSW, the 6th, 9th and 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australian Perspecta ’83’, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, amongst other institutions.