Biography

American artist Jay Mark Johnson produces photographic images that challenge the norms of perception. Throughout his career, in work spanning the disciplines of drawing and painting, filmmaking, performance, architecture, and photography, he has made visible the intersection of human nature and society.

Johnson studied architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York City. Through the early 1980s, his associations with architects Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Aldo Rossi and Lebbeus Woods enabled him to explore questions of representation and time in both built and conceptual architecture. During this period the Museum of Modern Art, NYC acquired his model reconstruction of Ivan Leonidov’s 1927 Dom Narkomjaztpromp.  He was also commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute to  reconstruct Buckminster Fuller’s 1927 Dymaxion House.  Later, that piece was also acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.

For the remainder of the ‘80s, Johnson was engaged in performance art, collaborating with Robbie McCauley, Lindzee Smith, V-Effect and others on performances at Theater for a New City, Laight Again Club, Pyramid Club, Henry Street Settlement, and The Kitchen, in New York; and at Seward Hall UCLA, and L.A.C.E., in Los Angeles. He collaborated, as well, with visual artists  including Kiki Smith, Nan Goldin and Jimmie Durham.

It was during this period that Johnson began his ongoing political activism, co-founding an alternative television collective, reporting and writing for the Pacifica Network (broadcast radio), and producing graphic work, including the “Postcard Action” series, which is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Art Institute of Chicago.

In the late 1980s, Johnson moved to Central America where he co-founded two more television collectives in Mexico and El Salvador, at the height of political unrest in those countries.  He wrote, directed and produced television  campaigns for the political organization, the FMLN, progressively mastering digital video technology. 

At the end of 1991, Johnson returned to Los Angeles, where he is now a cinema director with broad experience in visual effects production, having supervised, directed or otherwise contributed to the computer generated imagery for nearly a dozen major studio films and television series, including The Matrix, Titanic, Moulin Rouge, Tank Girl, Outbreak, White Oleander, and music videos for Michael Jackson, Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others.

Having discovered the many ways that a limited understanding of human nature can hinder the advancement of progressive causes, he devoted two years to graduate study in Linguistic Anthropology and Biological Anthropology at UCLA.  Additional years of study focused on reading in the cognitive sciences.

His current SPACETIME photographic series began with rudimentary experiments in 2005.  Over the course of this project he increasingly applies the full range of his experiences, from visual arts and cinema to studies in the anthropological and cognitive sciences.  Work from this period is in the permanent collections of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation and the Langen Foundation, Hombroich, Germany and Peter Klein, Museum Kunstwerk, Eberdingen, Germany.

The artist was born in 1955 in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. Since 1996 Johnson has resided intermittently in Europe, in Paris, Antwerp, Rome and rural Italy.  He currently lives and works in Venice, California. 



ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

EDUCATION AND BIRTHPLACE
1997 - 98 Linguistic Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, UCLA Los Angeles, CA USA
1978 - 80 Institute For Architecture And Urban Studies, New York City, NY USA
1973 - 79 Master of Architecture, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA USA
1955 Born in St. Petersburg, FL USA

RECENT SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2016 SIDESHOW SIEM REAP, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2015 NO STONE UNTURNED, Wildwood School, Los Angeles, CA
2015 WAVE LENGTHS, William Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2015 TIMELINES, Colburn School of M ic, Los Angeles, CA
2015 PHOTO LA 2015, Los Angeles, CA
2014 EN LA MADRIX, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura de Puebla, MX
2014 LINEA DEL TIEMPO, Palacio Municipal, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura de Puebla, MX
2014 #INWHEELTIME, MOPLA. LUCIE Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
2014 PHOTO LA 2014, William Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2013 TIME LINE WAVES, ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2013 NO SUCH PLACE, William Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2013 PHOTO LA 2013, Los Angeles, CA
2012 NO SUCH PLACE, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney AU
2012 THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, Christ Church, Oxford University UK
2012 SPACETIME: Beyond the Constraints of Perception. UCLA Cotsen Institute, Los Angeles, CA
2012 PHOTO LA 2012, Los Angeles, CA
2011 TEMPO LINEARE, La Botte Ristorante, Los Angeles CA
2011 EL ANARQUISTA Y EL AUTOMOVIL, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2011 MOTION STUDIES, Kunstforum Essenheim, Esseheim DE
2011 VENICE SPACEWALK, Venice Family Clinic & Animal West, Los Angeles, CA
2010 VENICE SPACEWALK, Venice Family Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
2009 SCOPE 09, Galerie Deschler, Basel CH
2009 GERMAN CONSULATE, Basel CH
2009 SPACETIME, ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008 SWEPT AWAY, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2008 NEW WORK HAMBURG, aplanat Galerie für Photography, Hamburg DE
2007 MOTION STUDIES, aplanat Galerie für Photografie, Hamburg DE
2007 MOTION STUDIES, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2007 TEMPO LINEARE, Comune di Cetona, Cetona IT
2007 TAICHI MOTION STUDIES, aplanat Galerie für Fotographie, Hamburg DE

RECENT GROUP EXHIBITIONS AND ART FAIRS
2018 BETWEEN TWO SEAS, M.A.A.A.C.Museum, Cisternino, Puglia, IT
2018 SCHWARZ/WEISS, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2018 ART HISTORY, INTERRUPTED, CMay Galley, Los Angeles, CA
2018 VENICE ART WALK & AUCTIONS, Venice Family Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
2017 KAIROS CASTLE, Kasteel Van Gaasbeek, Lennik, BE
2017 MUSIC AND ART RESOUND, Art Share, Los Angeles, CA
2017 PHOTO LA 2011, Los Angeles, CA
2017 FOCAL PLANES, Chungking Studios, Los Angeles, CA
2016 ALTERED REALITY, Weisman Art Museum, Pepperdine University, Malibu CA
2016 WINTER SETTING, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2016 KUNST 16 ZURICH, Galerie Deschler, Zurich CZ
2015 MADE IN CALIFORNIA, Weisman Art Foundation,Mana Contemporary, Miami, FL
2015 ETHEREAL, William Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2015 GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2015 SUMMER SETTING, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2014 MIGRATIONS, Palacio Municipal, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura de Puebla, MX
2014 IMPERMANCE, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2014 LINEA DEL TIEMPO, Palacio Municipal, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura de Puebla, MX
2014 LA ART SHOW, Art All Ways, Los Angeles, CA
2014 GALLERY WEEKEND, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2013 SNAP! ORLANDO, Orlando, FL US
2013 LEBBEUS WOODS, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2013 LUMINOUS, Melissa Morgan Fine Art, Palm Desert, CA
2013 ARTISTS OF THE GALLERY, ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2012 IN THE WOODS, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2012 IN THE PICTURES, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2012 PACIFIC STANDARD TIME, Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard CA
2012 SCOPE 2012, Galerie Deschler, Basel CH
2012 VENICE ART WALK & AUCTIONS, Venice Family Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
2012 ONE SHOT: THE CITY, The Loft at Liz’s, Los Angeles, CA
2012 ART FOR CLAIRE, Santa Monica, CA
2012 ARTWORKS FOR THE CURE, Los Angeles, CA
2012 WINTER SETTING, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2011 PREVIEW BERLIN, Berlin DE
2011 SCOPE 2011, Galerie Deschler, Basel CH
2011 SOLID STRIPES, LAUNCH LA,Los Angeles, CA
2011 ART FOR CLARE, Santa Monica, CA
2011 PHOTO LA 2011, Los Angeles, CA
2011 IN THE PICTURES, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2011 CULTURE, ART, TECHNOLOGY, Sixth College, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA
2011 ART KARLSRUHE, Galerie Deschler, Karlsruhe DE
2010 ELEMENTS OF NATURE, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
2010 TECHNICAL MATTERS, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2010 CONTEMPORARY ISTANBUL, 2010, Istanbul TK
2010 SHFT.COM, Estee Lauder, New York City
2010 PREVIEW BERLIN, Berlin DE
2010 SWELL: ART 1950 2010, Metro Pictures, Nyehaus, Friedrich Petzel, New York City
2010 NEW DEPARTURES, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2010 ART KARLSRUHE, Galerie Deschler, Karlsruhe DE
2010 SCOPE 10, Galerie Deschler, Basel CH
2010 VENICE ART WALK & AUCTIONS, Venice Family Clinic, Los Angeles, CA
2010 PHOTOS AND PHANTASY, Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
2010 SHFT.COM, Los Angeles, CA
2010 CHARITYBUZZ AUCTION, Christie’s, New York City, NY
2009 ART KARLSRUHE, Galerie Deschler, Karlsruhe DE
2009 PHOTO LA 2009, ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2009 SUMMER SETTING, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2008 PHOTOS AND PHANTASY, Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA
2008 PHOTO LA 2008, ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2008 KUNSTKORPERLICH, Kunsthalle, Osnabruck DE
2008 ART KARLSRUHE, Galerie Deschler, Karlsruhe DE
2007 PHOTO LA 2007, ACE Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2007 TRIBUTE TO IRVING PENN, apalant Galerie für Photografie, Hamburg DE
2007 TECHNICAL MATTERS, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE
2007 TRIBUTE TO IRVING PENN, aplanat Galerie für Fotographie, Hamburg DE
2006 WINTER SETTING, Galerie Deschler, Berlin DE

ARTWORK IN PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
BUNDESTAG (GERMAN PARLIAMENT) REICHSTAG BUILDING, BERLIN
CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF POLITICAL GRAPHICS
FIDELITY CORPORATE ART COLLECTION, BOSTON
ALISON AND PETER KLEIN, MUSEUM KUNSTWERK, EBERDINGEN
LANGEN FOUNDATION, HOMBROICH
MILKEN FAMILY FOUNDATION, SANTA MONICA
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK CITY
PHOENIX ART MUSEUM, PHOENIX
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, TRAVELING EXHIBITION SERVICE
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, DIVISION OF POLITICAL HISTORY, WASH. DC
FREDERICK R. WEISMAN ART FOUNDATION, LOS ANGELES
ZENTRUM FÜR KUNST UND MEDIENTENOLOGIE, KARLSRUHE, DE

PRINT GRAPHICS (1983-1994)
1992 - 94 COVERT ACTION QUARTERLY, Cover Art, Editorial Cartoons, Illustrations, Washington D.C. USA
1984 - 88 BLACK CAT GRAPHICS COLLECTIVE, Political Posters, Silkscreen, New York City, NY USA
1986 - 89 CENTRO LIBRE DE EXPERIMENTACION TEATRAL Y ARTISTICA, Political Graphics, Mexico D.F. MX
1986 WOMEN OF ALL RED NATIONS, Political Posters, Silkscreen,, New York City, NY USA
1984 CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS, Political Cartoons, New York City, NY USA
1984 DECEMBER 12TH COALITION, Graphics, Banners, New York CIty, NY USA
1983 POSTCARD ACTION, Mail Art Project, New York City, NY USA
1982 - 83 EL SALVADOR MEDIA PROJECT, Graphics, New York City, NY USA

INDEPENDENT VIDEO PRODUCTION - DOCUMENTARY, FEATURE, PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS
1993 OZONE (Greenpeace) Director, Bombshell Productions, Los Angeles, CA USA
1990 - 91 PUBLICART, Co-founder, Director, Political Campaigns, Local Commercials, San Salvador, SV
1987 - 89 COLLECTIVO DE CINE POPULAR - FUEGO NUEVO, Co-founder, Director, Mexico D.F. MX
1984 XCHANGE TV, Co-founder, Political Documentaries, Manhattan Cable, New York City, NY

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN (1979 - 1984)
1984 BUCKMINSTER FULLER, Dymaxion House, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. USA
1982-84 MICHAEL FIELDMAN PARTNERS, Design, Drawings, Paintings, New York City NY USA
1982-84 LEBBEUS WOODS, Drawings, Models, New York City, NY USA
1980-81 PETER EISENMAN, Drawings, Models, New York City, NY USA
1980-81 ALDO ROSSI, Drawings, Paintings, Models, Milano, IT

THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE ART (1983-1994)
1994 THE OTHER WEAPON (McCauley) Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA USA
1994 THE OTHER WEAPON (McCauley) Highways, Los Angeles, CA USA
1994 THE OTHER WEAPON (McCauley) Seward Hall, University of California at Los Angeles, CA USA
1987 INDIAN BLOOD (McCauley) The Kitchen, New York City, NY USA
1986 THE HOUR BEFORE MY BROTHER DIES (Keene) Interart Theatre, New York City, NY USA
1986 WHAT’S UP ZACK? (Purdy) Laight Again Club, New York City, NY USA
1986 MY GRANDFATHER AND THE WARS (McCaulley) Henry Street Settlement, New York City, NY USA
1984 MY FATHER BELONGED TO THE FBI BUT I WAS A SOVIET SPY (Zonzinzky) The Kitchen, New York City, NY USA
1984 RANCHO NOTORIOUS (Lang) The Pyramid Club, New York City, NY USA
1983 LOCAL STIGMATIC (H. Williams) Laight Again Club, New York City, NY USA
1983 THE DAILY ACTIVITIES OF SLAVES, (Altomare) The Pyramid Club, New York City, NY USA
1982 THE DAILY ACTIVITIES OF SLAVES, (Altomare)Theatre For a New CIty, New York City, NY USA

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATION
2003-15 Directors Guild of America, (as a Director) Los Angeles, CA USA


In order to understand the large-format photographs of American artist Jay Mark Johnson (*1955) it is crucial to grasp their underlying paradox: while the images are created purely photographically, without digital manipulation or staging of a scene, and therefore depict actual events, they still create a perfectly illusory pictorial world. Johnson employs a modified camera which over a set period of time keeps recording the same narrow vertical strip in front of the camera lens and combines the successive photographs into an uninterrupted image that flows evenly from left to right. The vertical axis thus retains its spatial dimension, but the horizontal axis is dedicated to a depiction of the passage of time: "x = time." Immobile elements appear as a homogenous background of horizontal lines, only elements (figures, vehicles, etc.) that move through the recording plane assume a life of their own.

Johnson's hybrid combination of spatial and temporal dimensions links back to art historical precursors, above all the chronophotographic studies of movement of the late 19th century (Eadweard Muybridge, Étienne Jules Marey, Albert Londe et al.), as well as Italian Futurism (alluded to in the title with its mention of anarchism and automobiles). But Johnson both visually and methodologically goes beyond a purely technical experimentation by consciously exploiting the permutations and shifts effected by his recording process to examine, on a level of content, the nature and limits of our modes of perception. While his earlier works depicted dancers as amorphous shapes whose complex movement patterns were recorded in a kind of "action painting," his newer photographs play with the illusions brought about by a visual approximation of his time-images to conventional spatial images, while purposefully retaining a remnant of their comical distortions. A remarkable effect of the recording process that combines the image from successive individual photographs is the fact that the figures in the image always move in the same direction. This is the result of the camera writing the image in one direction. The camera thus effectively imposes an order and homogeneity onto the depicted reality that was never there in the first place.