Portland based artist Zach Johnsen has been focusing on a synthesis of his creative skills - marrying the graphic sensibility of his well known "Acid" work (which depicts suited figures suspended in a freeze frame of frenetic, explosive motion) with the expressiveness of painting.
For his upcoming 2014 solo show "Shadow Cabinet" at C.A.V.E. Gallery, Johnsen has been diligently working to continue the development of a unique body of work that provocatively delves into the mythology of mask and spirit and current political systems.
In this new series, Johnsen visualizes a phantom parliamentary system charged with regulating the flow of life and energy. The "Shadow Cabinet" is an amorphous cloud of radiant energy that constitutes an arm of his earlier work for the "House of Uncommons".
This ethereal force occasionally takes shape and solidifies as a bonafied governing body of flesh and blood. Johnsen depicts each member as a half breed class of human and masked spirit entity which operate both within the sphere of the spiritual world and alternately within the world of concrete, traffic jams and inefficient bureaucracy that we are all familiar with. The narrative revolves around how members of the "Shadow Cabinet" interact and react during states of duress, resulting in a colorful take on the political system.
Johnsen's work in "Shadow Cabinet" explodes with technical skill and pop sensibility. The artist continues to push the boundaries of mixed media, adding colored smoke bombs to his creative arsenal - the result being an exhibition of fantastical figures that emerge from ethereal backgrounds of colored fog. The series is an eye popping portrayal of a shadow parliament in which each piece feels as if withholding a spiritual power on the verge of being unleashed.
Wednesday - Sunday
From 12pm to 6pm and by appointment
- Zach Johnsen “Central Administrator” (2014), watercolor, acrylic and smoke bomb, on canvas, 22″ x 40″
- Zach Johnsen, detail of “Architect of the Capitol” (2014), watercolor, acrylic and smoke bomb on wood panel, 32″ x 40″
- Zach Johnsen “Director of Geospatial Intelligence” (2014), watercolor, acrylic and smoke bomb , on canvas, 22″ x 40″