x = time

8 Feb – 19 Apr 2020
The Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) presents an exhibition of large scale photographic artworks by Jay Mark Johnson
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.


J.M. Johnson was educated at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies and has worked as an assistant to Peter Eisenman, as well as for Rem Koolhaas and Aldo Rossi. Works of his are in the permanent collections of the MoMA in New York, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as the Collection Frederick R. Weisman and the Langen Foundation, Hombroich. Johnson's varied and prolific career spans theatre and performance art, photography, live musical performance, and journalism. He co-founded three different alternative television collectives first in Manhattan, and then in Mexico and El Salvador during the eighties at the height of political repression and unrest in those countries. After his return from Latin America he started working in the movie industry and is now a film 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, such as Outbreak, Matrix, Titanic, Tank Girl, Moulin Rouge, White Oleander, and music videos for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others. Jay Mark Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles, USA.