Ezra Johnson has unveiled his latest collection of paintings, sculptures, animation, and other installations for his debut exhibition titled It’s Under the Thingy at Freight & Volume gallery in Chelsea.
The works in this show bring out Johnson’s dynamic and innovative approach that he delivers to his intriguing creations. He uses a wide variety of materials to capture this energy.
Perhaps the most intriguing installation in this show is the installation 3 Shelves of Dish Cloths in which several colorful ceramic slabs resembling sponges are lined up in rows along shelves. Johnson’s inspiration for this piece came from viewing a sculpture of three kitchen sponges. He re-created these forms by twisting and contorting them to give them unique shapes, which he then glazed and fired. According to Johnson, these unusual sponges are meant to make an amusing statement on the hard work and effort one must apply in life.
Another intriguing installation, Slumping Toward Bethlehem, features a giant mattress, with designs of multi-colored squares painted on it that’s presented as rising from the floor with one of the upper corners slightly bent inward. The installation pays homage to the styles of Richard Serra and Claes Oldenburg.
Johnson’s paintings include elements which he refers to as “wave forms” or “intertwined limbs.” They convey energy and vibrancy with swift brushstrokes and bright colors, and some are done in collage form with images that are cut up and then glued back together.
One notable painting Hammering the Screws features a skinny, silhouetted human figure holding an indistinct object as he stands over a glass table. Another untitled mixed-media collage features strips of paper, some skinny and some wide, laid out on a background that’s half orange and half tan-colored. At Freight & Volume, 530 W. 24th St., through Nov. 1. The gallery is open Tues.—Sat. from 11 a.m.—6 p.m.
Article by Alison Martin