November 16, 2012

Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes

David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University
Simen Johan, Untitled #159. Digital chromogenic print, 60 x 80 inches.
© Simen Johan, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York.

The David Winton Bell Gallery is pleased to present Simen Johan: Until the Kingdom Comes, an exhibition of photographs and sculpture by the New York-based, Norwegian-born artist. An opening reception and artist’s talk will be held on Friday, November 16, from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

In Until the Kingdom Comes, Simen Johan creates a natural world that exists between reality, fantasy, and nightmare. The images are amusing, sweet, clever, mysterious, foreboding. His oversized photographs (some measuring over 100 inches) depict wild animals at nearly life size, increasing the verisimilitude of the images and often engendering a sense of awe at the viewer’s “face-to-face” encounter with the animal.

Striving to “confuse the boundaries between opposing forces, such as the familiar and the otherworldly, the natural and the artificial, the amusing and the eerie,” Johan mixes sweet images appropriate to children’s literature with dark and mysterious scenes that might illustrate our primordial beginnings or apocalyptic ends. Smiling owls and weeping foxes mimic human emotions. Two moose wage battle amidst a flock of parakeets. And, in a particularly dark and foreboding image, a bison (the symbol of the American West) lies on the ground amidst a landfill. This image may speak to our individual ends, or to the environmental and political decline of our nation. For Johan, the series functions as a way “to get to some sort of truth about the instability of meaning.” It is his “attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable as I explore the paradoxical nature of existence, its simultaneous abundance of beauty and horror.”

Simen Johan is a 2012 recipient of the Howard Foundation Grant. A graduate of the School of Visual Art, New York and Lugnetskolan, in Falun, Sweden, he has shown at the Museum of Art and Design, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; and the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, among other institutions.

All events are open to the public and free of charge.


Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.