Day 306: Eternal Return, by Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson 2012

Day 306: Eternal Return, by Tim Johnson (with Yiwon Park)

Tim Johnson continues working in his inimitable visual idiom and collaborating with artists from Indigenous and Asian cultures. In the Eternal Return, which featured in his current exhibition, Optic Nerve, at Tolarno Galleries, the pivotal central place, which is usually reserved within Johnson’s paintings for an Asian deity, is occupied by the iconic Uluru, perhaps in the acknowledgement of the sacred place held by the monumental rock in Aboriginal cultures. It becomes the focal point from which all other compositional elements within the painting reverberate. Planets of the Solar system swirl around it, making it literally the centre of the Universe. Aboriginal children play and indigenous artists are engaged in creation of artworks in its shadow.

Diverse imagery borrowed from various Asian iconographic sources, such as devotional paintings and sculptures, traditional scroll motives, popular cartoons and computer games complete this complex tableau. The ease with which visual elements from the indigenous and Asian cultures co-exist with each other within Johnson’s paintings brings to mind the fact that the two cultures had interacted long before the European colonisation.

The whole composition swathes and undulated against the delicate background of shifting palettes of yellows, pinks, blues, and purples, covered by the shimmer of Aboriginal-style dot painting.

Tim Johnson’s Optic Nerve exhibition is at the Tolarno Galleries until November 17.


[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries.]

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Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

November 2012


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