Denise Johnson

 

Curatorial Projects
2016
The Gildless Age
Torrance Art Museum
 
The Gildless Age exhibition essay and wall didactic
 
 
Christopher Knight's Review of The Gildless Age
 
2015
Jagged Negotiations
Patrick Painter Gallery, Los Angeles
2013
Carte de California: Contested Terrain
Kellogg Gallery, CSU Pomona
2012
One Image, One Minute
For Your Art, Los Angeles
2011
Separation Anxiety
Pelham Art Center, New York
2011
Mammygraphs & Trick Baby Exhibition Guide
2010
Separation Anxiety
Wignall Museum, Chaffey College
2007
Girly Show: Pin-Ups, Zines & the So-Called Third Wave
Wignall Museum, Chaffey College

 

 

My work is founded by a strong feminist critique and a deep interest in the woman’s body as a sight/ site of pleasure as well as of pain, abjection, humiliation and distrust. I have often begun projects through an exploration of self with the intention of catharsis. However, I hope that this inspection of personal identity does not engulf the work, but instead allows a much needed critique on the construction of gender and a critical analysis on the cultural consumption of the woman’s body.

Because my work is conceptually driven, I do not prefer specific media nor do I linger in signature strategies for too long.  I enjoy a play between media and message and am invested in a postmodern breakdown of modernist notions of kitsch, the supremacy of painting, the heroic genius of the male avant-garde and an aversion to things personal.  My body of work may at first seem disparate and incongruous, but shared veins of thought and a collective trajectory of understanding tenuously hold things together. A kind of overarching theme (if I must have one) to my works is an exploration of the methods and aesthetics of female empowerment and disempowerment. For example, an early series of silk-screened images of “powerful” women inspired by comic books and television heroines imagines the woman in control of her body, her likeness and her sexual self but inevitably invokes a sense of tension, a kind of begging the question - Is undress and sexual prowess the only means by which women can attain control?

I have continually revisited issues of the body and bodily pleasures. The consumption of sweets, the guilt and shame associated with desire, the ramifications of consumer obsession with objects and images of satisfaction and an unquenchable thirst for more are all central concerns to works such as Sweet Dreams, Sweethearts, and the Bulemic Vargas Girl.  While these projects dwell in a very political space, self-deprecation and an interest in sarcasm jest with the serious undertones and are employed as measures of humility and sincerity.

I have also been drawn to a deconstruction of childhood entertainments like the fairy tale and the nursery rhyme. The stereotypes and impeding structures that these old-fashioned compositions continue to impose are fascinating to me.  Works like Mirror, Mirror on the Wall and Le Prince, which were part of a body of work entitled Flights of Fancy, as well as The Three Graces, function to destroy conventional notions of the woman in need of rescue (from herself and others) while also poking fun at the methods by which western women have been marginalized for so long.

 

Exhibition History
2016
Confluence for Two Channels with Gordon Winemko
CURRENT LA, Point Fermin, San Pedro
(En)Gendered (In)Equity: Gallery Tally Poster Project
LACE, Los Angeles
2015
(En)Gendered (In)Equity: Gallery Tally Poster Project
Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile
(En)Gendered (In)Equity: Gallery Tally Poster Project
Woman Made Gallery, Chicago
2014
(En)Gendered (In)Equity: Gallery Tally Poster Project
For Your Art, Los Angeles
2013
Margin Release Right
West LA College Art Gallery
HAIR poster
2011
Chain Letter
Shoshana Wayne, Los Angeles
Jade Bemiller Benefit
Offramp Gallery, Pasadena
2010
The 210 Show
Project 210, Pasadena
2008
210 Gallery Opener
Project 210, Pasadena
Chaffey College Mixer
Cal State San Bernardino
Inlandia: A to Z coloring book
2007
Participant in
Edith Abeyta's Salty: Three Tales of Sorrow
El Camino College Art Gallery, Torrance
2005
Perceptions
UCLA Student Activities Center
2002
Flights of Fancy
Sprout Gallery, Los Angeles
2001
The Faculty Show
Mt. San Jacinto College Fine Arts Gallery
2000
Moving Out
Cal Arts, Valencia
Sugar & Spice
Cal Arts, Valencia
1999
Memory & Montage
Cal Arts, Valencia
Unerotic
Cal Arts, Valencia
CAA MFA Juried Exhibition
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
Sweethearts
Cal Arts, Valencia
1998
Stain
Cal Arts, Valencia
1998 - 2000
Donna Domina
Cal Arts, Valencia
1997
Senior Thesis Exhibition
Sweeney Art Gallery, UC Riverside
Erotic Art
Student Art Gallery, UC Riverside
1996
It Is Estimated That 27.9 Milion People Worldwide Are Infected with HIV and 7.7 Million People Have AIDS
Student Art Gallery, UC Riverside

 

 

Portfolio Contents
click on the blue text to see images of the work
   
Selected Fine Art
2014
(en)Gendered (in)Equality: Gallery Tally Project, For Your Art, Los Angeles
2013
(en)Gendered (in)Equality: Gallery Tally Project, Margin Release Right, West LA College Gallery
2012
One Image, One Minute
2011
Chain Letter, Shoshana Wayne, Los Angeles
2008
 
Untitled (Lyric Drawings)
2007
Votes for Women part of Edith Abeyta's Salty: Three Tales of Sorrow
2005
The Three Graces
2002
Le Prince (The Prince)
Flights of Fancy
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
La Fee (The Fairy)
 
Run, Run, Run Fast As You Can
2001
Bad Girls
2000
Perfect
 
Sweet Dreams
Untitled (Dresses)
Untitled (Pointe Shoes)
Children on Their Knees
1999
Bad Girl Wallpaper
Neurotic: tending to respond to present life situations on the basis of their resemblance to early childhood experiences or on the basis of an idealized concept of the self rather than in terms of immediate reality
It is estimated that 30.6 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/ AIDS
Sweethearts
1998
Stain
1998 - 2000
Donna Domina
1997
Space Venus
 
Lu
Vibrator Drawings
1996
It Is Estimated That 27.9 Milion People Worldwide Are Infected with HIV and 7.7 Million People Have AIDS
 
Bulemic Vargas Girl
Self-Portrait
Syringe Painting
Diabetic Fingerprints
Untitled etching
1994
Untitled grid drawing
   
Select Commercial Work
2004
Five Monkeys
Lady with the Alligator Purse
2002
Aesop's Fables
Pond Life

 

Education
1997 - 2000
Master of Fine Art
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia
1993 - 1997
Bachelor of Art
UC Riverside
in Art & Psychology