Pictura Gallery

Joe Johnson

Local Weather

Discovering the beauty of the Midwest is much like the slow sweetness of falling in love with someone you’ve known your whole life. It’s a quiet grace that gradually unravels itself before you. It’s not dramatic but is instead, wonderfully familiar. Joe Johnson’s photographs of simple, captivating landscapes encapsulate this sensibility.Johnson’s imagery offers a collection of ordinary scenes, the type of nowhere you might see while driving. But these views linger on the details you might not notice. They are perfectly still. It’s the kind of saturated stillness that we experience when the world is translated through a blanket of snow.Small moments of light and color previously unnoticed move to the forefront, humbly suggesting their significance. Although the prints are nearly monochrome, it’s as if all the colors that lie dormant within white are subtly revealing themselves. In this way, the images become very much about color.This is a cloaked version of the ordinary world. Through the cover of darkness or a veil of snow, all that is familiar about the landscape has been simplified. Boundaries that are normally articulated, like the line between land and sky, become blurred, while other more subtle details become unusually heightened and pronounced. This is a world where light kisses light, and darkness slumbers with shadow. There is little in between, as if dark and light are the only two states of being.

– Lisa Berry & Mia Dalglish

Joe Johnson earned an MFA from the Massachusetts College Art and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His work has been reviewed and/or published in Art in America, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Esquire Magazine Russia, and YVI Magazine in the Netherlands. Johnson was a runner up for the 2008 Aperture Portfolio Prize and was nominated for SF Camerawork’s 2010 Baum Award and the 2011 Santa Fe Prize.In 2008 he received an individual artist grant from the Ohio Arts Council. He has participated in exhibitions at the Cleveland Art Museum, The DeCordova Museum, MassMoCA, Bonni Benrubi Gallery in NY, Flatfile Gallery in Chicago, and Gallery Kayafas in Boston. Johnson’s photographs are included within the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln MA, and the Beach Art Museum.He has lectured at Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University, MassArt, Rhode Island College, the DeCordova Museum, and the Beach Museum of Art. He is currently head of the art photography program at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Exhibition Archives