Brett Allen John­son

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - BRETT ALLEN JOHN­SON

In­ter­pret­ing the South­west

Maxwell Alexan­der Gallery in Los An­ge­les bills it­self as “A con­tem­po­rary re­al­ism gallery with mod­ern vi­sions of the past.” Their artists, in­spired by the great Western painters, blaze their own trails.

Brett Allen John­son—in­flu­enced by May­nard Dixon, the Taos So­ci­ety and, even, Ge­or­gia O’ke­effe—says, “I’m ex­cited to pull from them my own views of the South­west.”

John­son is lit­er­ally in­spired, breath­ing in the at­mos­phere of the West and the scenes that also in­spired his he­roes. It be­comes part of him, al­low­ing him to por­tray a dif­fer­ent sense of the re­al­ity of the West, not merely copy­ing it. “I am not of­ten a painter of lit­eral places,” he ex­plains. “I reg­u­larly in­vent en­tire works, or paint them from mem­ory. I like to in­vite ob­servers into a world which is merely sim­i­lar

to the one they know—an ad­ja­cent world.”

John­son lives in Utah. He stud­ied de­sign and ab­stract paint­ing in col­lege but left early to paint out of doors and to bring his sense of de­sign and ab­strac­tion to his own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the land­scape. “These bad­lands and deserts, the arid canyons, the playas and great basins,” he says, “these are where my work be­gan, where it be­gins.”

His lat­est paint­ings will be shown at Maxwell Alexan­der Gallery Novem­ber 3 through 25.

The weather is as dra­matic as the scenery in the south­west. John­son turns the drama into a con­vinc­ing hy­per­bole in his Mid­sum­mer Drama, a 21st-cen­tury ver­sion of Thomas Cole’s grand scenes of wild, un­tamed Amer­ica.

A finely ren­dered horse and rider are in the fore­ground of Through Good Coun­try. The mid­dle ground and dis­tance are ex­pres­sion­is­tic splashes of color, no longer a “lit­eral place” but “an ad­ja­cent world”—one in which he asks us to see dif­fer­ently.

Mid­sum­mer Drama, oil, 24 x 30"

Over Sand­stone and Sage, oil, 24 x 24”

Through Good Coun­try, oil, 36 x 44”

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