Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new photographic works and sculptures by Simen Johan, on view from May 26 through August 19, with a reception for the artist on Thursday, May 26 from 6:00 – 8:00pm. Known for his psychologically charged depictions of the natural world, the artist has expanded his creative universe to include ceramic sculptures, celestial bodies and detailed compositions that oscillate between bright light and dark shadows. This will be the artist’s ninth exhibition at the gallery.
Simen Johan originally drew attention in the early 90s by merging digital manipulation with traditional darkroom techniques. Since then, he has been developing a hybrid form of image- making that integrates candidly photographed animals and landscapes with a compositional structuring and conceptual intent typically associated with painting and cinema.
Combining image elements that he photographed in a wide range of international locations, Johan's images reveal poetic and often unexpected relationships that speak to the illusory and multifaceted nature of existence. Stripes on a dazzle of Grévy's zebras mesh with the fronds of geographically incongruent palms; jaguars in a tree are both defined and obscured by their spots and dappled sun; pigeons flock towards light like moths (or angels). Tensions between what is revealed and what is concealed, what is alluring and what is menacing, what is fact and what is fiction, both shape and unsettle the scenes. These amalgamations of sentiments, creatures, and environments are printed nearly life-size to mimic the scale of natural vision.
Johan’s sculptures, both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic, are made from clay, fabric and feathers using a method akin to his singular image-making process, allowing him to continuously add, subtract and reshape a form until the “right” image appears. For both his photographs and sculptures, compositions mature over time, as ideas evolve and as the right sculpting material or the opportunity to photograph a certain landscape, plant or animal, in the right season, light or weather condition presents itself.
Concurrent with Yossi Milo Gallery’s exhibition, Scandinavia House at 58 Park Avenue, NYC, will feature additional photographs by Johan in their exhibition, Another North: Landscape Reimagined, from May 6 – August 6, 2016.
Solo exhibitions have been presented at the David Winton Bell Gallery of Brown University, Providence; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; 21c Museum, Louisville; and the Pollock Gallery at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Johan’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Brandts Museum of Photographic Art, Odense, Denmark; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Denver Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, among others. The artist has received several prestigious awards, including a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2009 and a fellowship from the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation, at Brown University in 2012. Simen was born in 1973 in Kirkenes, the extreme north of Norway, raised in Sweden and lives and works primarily in New York City.