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Chris Johanson

Artist Chris Johanson

Chris Johanson brings to this collection of etchings the same spirit of invention and authentic outlook that characterize his painting, sculpture and installations. Johanson is a social artist acutely concerned with moral issues. His work evolves out of the artistic movement loosely coined by Glen Helfand as “the mission school,” referring to the physical place where artists, writers and thinkers congregate. The neighborhood in Johanson's case is 16th and Mission Streets in San Francisco, an area that has nourished a thirty-something generation of San Francisco artists who mine an aesthetic of the local streets. Heartfelt, handmade and deeply observational work typifies this group; their brand of urban realism is blended with interests in graffiti, comic books, skateboarding and social activism. Their art has garnered attention locally and internationally, in part because its content resonates in our current climate of global uncertainty.

Johanson combines whimsical almost childlike, graffiti-based images with large ideas articulated in text. He exaggerates the eccentricities of the human character while simultaneously generalizing about our wide range of shared characteristics. Lawrence Rinder cites Johanson's work as “universal in its iconography” although “aspects of his style are connected to a do-it-yourself permissiveness that has been flourishing in the Bay Area.” He is attuned to his city's marginalia, the alienated, the down and out street dweller and the casualties of the American dream. Yet he typifies them empathetically with a sense of hope and an upbeat opportunity for growth, never disregarding their link to all living things.

Chris Johanson is represented by the Jack Hanley Gallery in San Francisco. He has also had solo exhibitions in galleries nationwide including Roberts & Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles, Deitch Projects, New York and Vedanta Gallery, Chicago and internationally with Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria. He has received critical attention and acclaim through museum exhibitions including the 2002 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New

Chris Johanson's Collection available through SOBU.

New York Times Article, 2013

SOBU is proud to offer Chris Johanson's artwork in partnership with Paulson Bott Press in Berkeley.