Trained as a painter in a traditional art school curriculum in the early seventies, Jim Johnson began experimenting with new media such as collage, photocopies, correspondence art, books, and video. Since Johnson’s involvement with the Concrete Poetry Movement in 1968 he has developed a relationship of words and images, and between language and ideas and art. Johnson frequently uses verbal or mathematical structures to determine visual form through procedural and algorithmic methods of composition.
Johnson’s work renders words and expressions in visual form. His still-life images are both objectifying and compressing, not bottles and fruit, but language, letters, and words into graphic and hopefully, evocative if not, provocative arrangements on the page. They may simply be signs, and if there is a picture involved, it is one that is completed in the mind of the viewer as much as in the eye.
Jim Johnson, a member of the Painting and Drawing faculty of the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1970, developed the department’s Integrated Media and Computer Imaging programs. He was instrumental in developing the Center for Arts, Media, and Performance for the ATLAS Institute and served as its first Director.
His book/installation, “A Thousand Words” is in the Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection. Other books are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the archives of the Chicago, San Francisco, and Otis Art Institutes.