For more than two decades, Geoffrey Johnson has mesmerized viewers with his quietly introspective paintings that capture the mood and character of the contemporary urban landscape as well as timeless interiors. Using an impressionistic style, Johnson’s work lies in that seductive space between realism and abstraction. Much like Hopper before him, Johnson’s paintings evoke the isolation and loneliness of the big city. Or the moodiness of a private space.
Johnson’s style has resulted in powerful imagery which offers little details to figure and form. Drawn to New York City for the many recognizable architectural landmarks it offers, Johnson “(wants) to show people juxtaposed with the architecture, and create different moods and feelings for each piece.” When painting his trademark urban landscapes, he tends towards a monochromatic approach to recreate the feeling of anonymity in the city. The limited palette “is a result of how I see it and I don’t think these scenes call for color. I keep the figures silhouetted and the architecture limited as well because the paintingsare not about those things. They are more based on the feelings one gets from the city. The limited or lack of color is all they call for.”
Johnson has also “always been attracted to interiors, work spaces ….. personal spaces,” where he can experiment with brighter colors and the detail and beauty of historic homes. Inspired by a box of sepia toned photographs found in an attic, the artist has created many sepia toned interior scenes, as well ones “where I used quite a bit of color…….it is a nice breakaway, temporarily to get away from the monochromatic palette.”
For Johnson, “each painting is 1000 different decisions, thoughts and feelings.” The result becomes timeless scenes “dancing on the water of abstraction or of just being.”