‘Certain Uncertainty’ opens Saturday at Residency Gallery
At 310 E. Queen St. in Inglewood
Isabell Rivera OW Contributor | 9/19/2019, midnight
Inglewood’s Residency Art Gallery will present “Atmosphere of Certain Uncertainty,” a solo exhibition by Devin B. Johnson. This exhibition will run from Sept. 21 through Nov. 16, with an opening reception taking place on Saturday, from 7 to 10 p.m. at 310 E. Queen St.
Johnson is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He works primarily in the language of painting. His work is based on fragmentation and reassembling of socio-cultural structures. Johnson often paints from sourced images, urban landscapes, and a lexicon of familiar experiences. He combines examinations of the Black aesthetic, through gestural mark making and uncanny imagery.
The paintings are an amalgam of exterior and interior moments of the Black body within minimal spaces. Johnson is inspired by the textural quality of urbanity in which the material or “composition” of the paint imitates the textual surfaces of facades found in the landscape. Those tactile moments in the landscape are often negotiated within paintings, sculptures, sound and mixed media collages.
Johnson’s compositions speak to the fragmented nature of memory and how it is reshaped when it is recalled. The background and foreground of the paintings become heterogeneous, in hovering between the figurative and the abstract. Johnson is one of 16 artists from around the world selected for the inaugural year of the Black Rock Senegal residency program in March 2020. He has shown abroad and in various shows across Los Angeles including a recent group show this summer with Nicodim Gallery Trans World (2019).
The “Atmosphere of Certain Uncertainty” is Johnson’s first solo showing after completing his Masters Degree of Fine Art at the Pratt Institute in May 2019. The work presented in “The Atmosphere of Certain Uncertainty” was created in response to Franz Fannon’s 1958 novel “Black Skin White Masks,” in which Fannon attempts to break down and conceptualize the contemporary Black male psyche. Johnson metaphorically reinterprets the “White mask” as white socks which serve as a reminder of that assimilation Blacks walk into everyday.
“I wasn’t aware of my Blackness until someone told me that I was different. For me, the contrast of White against Black skin speaks to a type double consciousness we navigate through everyday,” Johnson said. “In the series “White Nike Socks on Black skin,” I simply wanted to attach these concepts and ideas to a classic LA convention such as slides and socks. The bodies present in the work are always a non-violent body, a body that just wants to simply be.”