16 August 2007 - 15 September 2007

Helen Johnson, Do not go gentle into that goodnight


The works I have been producing recently deal with the complex relationships between personal ideology and cultural growth within a capitalist society. They are situated in diverse settings, and are grounded in the actions of the individual.

One work depicts the recollections of a man who has a recurring dream that he is Neil Armstrong, it is 2001 but he is back on the moon, and he is trying to scuff out his footprints, but just keeps leaving more. The dream of the astronaut's neurosis occupies most of the three meter high composition, looming over the dreamer like a heavy question about the natural limits of human existence, and whether they should be eschewed.

The scenes presented are constructed, synthesized from a diverse array of sources, rather than being drawn directly from reality. The scale shifts between works, some presenting life-sized human figures, some much smaller. Some elements drift between the representational and the abstract, creating a sense of reality becoming leavened, and also referring to the role of design in contemporary culture.

This body of work builds upon previous explorations, constructing tableaus of human activity which engage with the relationships between individual ideologies and the broader socio-political ideals which underpin a society. Some scenes function almost filmically, containing suggestive fragments of narrative and conversation. They serve as meditations on individual moments, and how they might play a role in the formation of cultural identities.

Helen Johnson

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JOHNSON_Do not go gentle into that goodnight 2007_Artist Statement (PDF)

JOHNSON_Do not go gentle into that goodnight 2007_Catalogue Text by Nick Heron (PDF)

Artwork from exhibition by Helen Johnson,