Helen Johnson Love over Gold

4 June –
4 July 2009
House sitting (still life with socialist tendencies, and a Garrie Hutchinson poem)
Helen Johnson

House sitting (still life with socialist tendencies, and a Garrie Hutchinson poem)

, 2009
Pencil and acrylic on paper, mounted on dialite
150 x 100cm

Sutton Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Helen Johnson, Love over Gold. The exhibition extends the artist’s ongoing exploration of subjective identities, and the socio-political ideologies that form a backdrop to everyday existence.

Love over Gold is a speculative proposition, a fantasy if you like, invoking circumstances in which the unavailability of capitalism is beyond question, and models for living must be reworked; some things discarded, others returned to. Attitudes towards wealth thrown into question. Through a subjective tableau of individuals and objects, the exhibition forms a rumination on broader principles of sacrifice, thrift and a rejection of materialistic values. The ethos of restructure is reinforced in the materiality of the work, the painted components cut out to become collage elements which commingle with wooden structures and tactile materials.’ – Helen Johnson, 2009.

In Love over Gold, a montage of paper cut-outs adhered to ply panels, are layered from the gallery walls out into the floor space, and form one large enveloping installation which can equally read as a series of smaller groupings.

Johnson’s current body of works make reference to a complex range of cultural signifiers, with one figure reading a copy of Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’, while another appears deeply absorbed in her laptop screen. This exhibition builds upon previous explorations, constructing tableaus of human activity. They serve as meditations on individual moments, and how they might play a role in the formation of cultural identities.

Johnson has presented multiple solo exhibitions both here and overseas, as well as contributing to a number of important group exhibitions, including Octopus 6, curated by Zara Stanhope at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces in 2006; The Independence Project, curated by Alexie Glass and exhibited at Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, in 2007; and New 06, curated by Juliana Engberg for the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne, in 2006. In 2007 she was one of only eleven international emerging artists featured in Present Future, a curated section of Artissima, Turin, Italy.

Artist’s profile