web analytics

Kerry Johns: 2021

Kerry Johns: Splendid Isolation 10 April - 02 May 2021. A COVID Safe exhibition. Artsite  Contemporary exhibition archive.


10 April – 02 May 2021


Solo Exhibition of the COVID lockdown paintings.

I loved the time of mandatory isolation last year, that first period of several months in 2020!
Everyone stayed at home, nobody was out, nobody could visit. Nobody was the least interested in what I was doing. Freedom from distraction, from expectation, from notice and every day could be devoted to work.

Since I couldn’t go out to work in the landscape, I resolved to use the same subject and see how many different ways I could approach it, starting with the garden through the studio window or with a vase of flowers on the window sill.

I rejoiced in having flowers to work with each day, most often white lilies which were gathered freshly from the bush (they are weeds) on our morning walks. What interested me most were the spaces between the objects seen at close quarters. I treated these negative spaces as positives which tended to equalise foreground and background. Following this principle naturally led me to an exploration of abstraction in nature. Treating every change of tone or colour as closely as possible to the seen phenomenon, there followed a buildup of abstract marks which resolved themselves into knowable shapes.
This was a liberating process. It allowed me to choose the most complex subjects knowing there would be a way through.

Then we returned to Canberra and a normal life. In the city studio environment, there were no complex backyard or window subjects to explore. The external stimuli was reduced and I had to discover ways of generating my own interest. I resolved to carry out the same strategy of painting the same subject in different ways. My still life subject now was permanently set up in the studio with several of my familiar studio objects repeating in starring roles.

For me this was a period of ‘Splendid Isolation’.  ~ Kerry Johns, February 2021

Featured work