Socks, Demons and Burgers; Americana works of Aaron Johnson

General art-related discussion.

Postby StaticMedium on Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:02 pm

Excited to introduce EB to the works of Aaron Johnson, who we'll be releasing a new edition with in the coming weeks. Aaron's work ranges from two dimensional paintings to sculpture and everything in between.


Aaron Johnson is a painter based in Brooklyn, NY. His reverse-painted acrylic-polymer-peel paintings inhabit the realms between the erotic-catastrophic/ecstatic-psychotic/comic-tragic, fusing diverse painting vocabularies into his own distinctive breed of Americana-grotesque, all rendered obsessively with tender brutality.

Johnson’s paintings are created with several different techniques: One uses a sheet of stretched plastic where images are painted backward with layers of acrylic polymer then peeled off and adhered to polyester knit mesh; another utilizes donated socks and acrylic paint to build up a three-dimensional surface. In Gone Fishin’, 2017, a man and woman ride a ramshackle canoe, dining on hamburgers, pizza, and red wine as hungry birds overhead grab both their food and the fish swimming below. The textural detail achieved with the painted and molded socks creates horrific-looking human skin and a swirling, tumultuous blue-green sea, turning this normally tranquil hobby into an all-out war for junk-food nourishment. One of the reverse paintings, Gone Truckin’, 2017, features a heterosexual couple embraced in a kiss as they are violently thrown through the windshield of their pickup truck, which has hit a deer, while two individuals in the cargo bed play music on a violin and guitar, seemingly oblivious to the bloodshed. The works share a sense of bawdy chaos, their characters trapped in a myopic, me-first philosophy.

Roberta Smith in The New York Times describes his works as visceral, beautiful and flamboyantly timely, which is saying a lot. Johnson received his MFA from Hunter College, NY in 2005. His work has been exhibited internationally at such venues as Stux Gallery, New York; Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, NY; Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen; Gallery Brandstrup, Oslo; The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space, Beirut; and Kunsthalle Exnergrasse (Vienna). Johnson’s exhibitions have been reviewed in many publications including Modern Painters, Art News, Beautiful Decay, Kunst International, The Village Voice, and The New York Times. In 2007 he was awarded a Space Program grant from The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, and is MacDowell Colony Fellow for 2012. His work is in the permanent collections of The Weisman Foundation and The Museum of Modern Art.


Law and Order, 2016, 19x24 inches, acrylic on paper

Nocturnal Street Scene, 50x44 inches, acrylic on paper on panel, 2017

Old Glory, 2016, 19x24 inches, acrylic on paper

Friend, 14x11 inches, acrylic on paper, 2017

Nothing Comes from Nowhere, 78x66 inches, acrylic on canvas, 2018

Gone Fishin', 2017, 72x108 inches, acrylic and socks on canvas over panel

Hot Tubbin', 2017, 40x40 inches, acrylic and socks on canvas over panel

Gone Truckin', 2017, 56x60 inches, acrylic on polyester knit mesh

Cheeseburger Cowboy, 2017, 40x32 inches, acrylic on polyester knit mesh



Fish (2), 2017, 11x20x3 inches, acrylic and socks on wood

Sock burgers

David Sockney
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