Wilma Johnson’s paintings are narrative and autobiographical, taking inspiration from her travels and experiences. She has lived in London, Mexico, and Ireland and is now based in Biarritz.
She is also a founder of the Neo Naturist performance art group and the author of Surf Mama.
This will be her first show since losing all her paintings in a fire in 2015.
Wilma Johnson is an artist, writer, surfer and co-founder of the Neo Naturists.
She was born in London in 1960 and has a degree in Fine Art from St Martins College of art.
In 1980 she founded the Neo Naturists with Christine and Jennifer Binnie, performing in venues as diverse as Taboo, the Spanish Anarchists Centre and the Royal Opera House. Throughout the 80s Wilma also exhibited paintings inspired by hitch hiking to Italy, Iceland, Scotland and Lappland in underground galleries in London. In 1987 she went to Mexico for a year, spending time with friends of Frida Kahlo, painting as she travelled and following the fiesta. The vivid colour and vibrant imagery of the country had a strong and lasting influence on her work.
In 1991 she went to live in a fishing village on the west coast of Ireland, continuing to paint and show her work while bringing up her three children in an isolated farmhouse on the Dingle peninsula.
She moved again in 2002, to Biarritz in the French Basque country, where she wrote her first book Surf Mama. She still lives there, and apart from painting and writing has recently returned to performance art, with the Neo Naturists.
This will be her first painting show since almost all her paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and photos dating back to 1980 were destroyed by fire in 2015.