July 2 – August 21, 2021
Lonsdale Gallery is pleased to present The Road So Far an exhibition of recent paintings
by Lisa Johnson in the Upper Gallery.
For Johnson, the act of painting is a journey. Rooted in memory, and visualizing the psychological sensations of communing with nature, Johnson approaches the untouched landscape as a site for self-discovery and expression. As a female artist painting Canadian landscapes for over 20 years, she brings her lived experience to the genre of landscape painting. Featuring new canvases produced over the last 18 months, the exhibition captures a longing to escape from fast-paced city life to find freedom and peace in the expansive countryside.
Depicting memories of roads traveled, from the west coast of Newfoundland to Lake Superior’s Algoma Hills, the works assembled evoke the feeling of pulling over after a long drive, stepping out of the car, and taking a deep cleansing breath. Shown alongside ink sketches and studies, this exhibition delves into Johnson’s painting process to highlight the importance behind the reciprocal relationship between the artist and the land when portraying the landscape.
Grand rolling vistas, winding country roads, endless expansive horizons transport the viewers to a space that resides between the real and imagined, the tangible and intangible. They conjure the sensation of miles travelled, chasing a destination that flickers illusively on the horizon. This metaphor weaves its way through the series.
Johnson’s multi-faceted compositions are built through layering of loose planes of colour, animated by expressive energetic gestural brushwork. Her paintings weave together pictorial and abstract sensibilities. Moving fluidly between bold gestural expression and more controlled naturalistic representation, she is able to capture the rhythm and energy of the terrain.
Her sketches reveal the process behind her rich paintings. Johnson’s practice involves sketching while on the road. These spontaneous sketches allow the artist to quickly capture the movement, rhythm, and forms she sees. The process of drawing in-situ allows Johnson to imprint the memory and direct feeling of the environment in a way that photography cannot achieve.
Imbued with a sense of wonder and grandeur, Johnson’s practice highlights the energetic exchange between the painter and the environment, as a continual dialogue that is never fixed or static. Instead, they become sites of artistic inquiry and self-exploration.