View list of exhibitions

In Colour - Robert Klippel: Sculpture and Works on Paper 1962-1998
A life of art – from the Estate of Jocelyn Plate
Sydney Contemporary
A Curator's Collection: Works from the Estate of Sally Couacaud
Winter 2022
Julie Green: New Drawings 2020-22
Autumn 2022 - from Private collections
Summer 2021-2022
Explore - Sydney Contemporary Online 2021
Spring 2021
Autumn 2021
Early Works – Tim Johnson 1969-1998
Summer 2020
Robert Klippel on Paper, 1950-1963
Winter 2020
Summer 2019
Michael Johnson, Dance of Line 1979
Spring 2019
Winter 2019
Tiwi, Wigram and Elcho Island Art from the Laverty Collection
Carl Plate, The Last Show He Never Had 1971-1976
Summer 2018
Poetically Microscopic from the Estate of Robert Klippel
Spring 2018
Liane Rossler - inside. outside. upsidedown.
Fred Cress Full Circle: Paintings and works on paper 1965-2009
Winter 2018
Michael Johnson 2013-2016
Other Worlds
Summer 2017
Carl Plate - Hard Colour: Paris Works 1970-1971
Michael Johnson 1968-1978
Winter 2017
Masters of Australian Photography - A Private collection
Autumn 2017 - Part II
Autumn 2017
Sweet Nature
Louise Hearman
Winter 2016
Autumn 2016
Spring 2015
Michael Johnson Diagonal Light - Works from 1980-1986
A Private Collection 2
Winter 2015
Shelfie - Liane Rossler
A Private Collection - Gary Sands
Summer 2014
Winter 2014
Michael Johnson London-Sydney-New York 1960s & 1970s
Contemporary History 1974-2009
Summer 2013-2014
Spring 2013
Winter 2013
Summer 2012-2013
Winter 2012
Autumn 2012
Summer 2011
Spring 2011
Autumn 2011
Summer 2010-2011
Fairweather, Williams and others
Winter 2010
Summer 2009-2010
Spring 2009
Winter 2009
BIG NAMES little sculptures


Michael Johnson
Two Decades
Three Cities
Vault magazine

Michael Johnson, Dance of Line, 1979 - Gallery 1
Michael Johnson, Small paintings, 2009 - Gallery 2

Show exhibition essay

Some abstract artists begin in the landscape, but the origins of my work were in drawing the human body. I began drawing dancers at a small dance school in Rowe Street, Sydney and continued to be involved with Modern Dance in New York in the early seventies.

In dance the body forms a line that expands and follows a continual movement. In painting, the body is engaged in using its own momentum to create both line and form. My connection to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man is both conceptual and physical in that a painting is executed within the limits of your own arm span. How you move and as far as you can reach influences the touch and gesture of paint on canvas. In drawing, that expression is more condensed and perhaps the energy of that work is more concentrated like a coiled spring.

I believe that the body forms the basis of all visual expression.  What the human body inspires is often invisible yet it dominates the mathematics of both art and architecture. In 1979 I began a series of small anatomical studies inspired by sketches I had made alongside my students in a life drawing class. In this series I relaxed into the process of carving line into form. Without the model before me, I reached inside my own geometric imagination and worked continuously on organic shapes and the dynamic interaction between dark and light, concrete mass and the void.

My method of painting gouache in transparent veils over crayon created imagery that was powerfully sculptural and full of layered energy. I was inspired by the dignity, diversity and inherent secrecy of the body. Movement is an expression of both the way we inhabit physical space but also how we defy the gravity and fragility of our own bodies. These were not works describing an individual identity but rather universal forms. They were not defining specific body parts either but seeking out the dynamic whole. In these works, as in the greater project of my painting, line and colour are interlocked in a dance, both defining and contrasting their integral roles.

Michael Johnson, 2019 

Michael Johnson

Figure 1 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 2 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 3 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 4 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 5 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 6 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 7 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 8 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 9 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 10 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 11 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 12 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 13 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 14 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 15 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 16 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 17 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 18 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 19 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 20 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 21 1979

Michael Johnson

Figure 22 1979

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Figure 23 1979

Michael Johnson

Python 2009

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Untitled 2009

SOLD

Michael Johnson

Untitled 2009

Michael Johnson

Untitled 2009

Michael Johnson

Untitled 2009

Michael Johnson

Untitled 2009

Michael Johnson

Glacial 2009

Michael Johnson

Mobilised 2009

Michael Johnson

Enclosed 2009

Michael Johnson

Untitled 2009