Aaron Johnson's sunny Brooklyn studio is full of riotous, colorfully undulating, larger-than-life monsters. He's getting ready for a show that opens next week. Luckily, he had some paintings in progress so we can see how he puts his paint on. Known for making paintings that are both incredibly gorgeous and politically aggressive, Johnson continues to develop and has upped the ante with his new work. Now he's including Old-Master appropriations, political satire, religious abominations, gender-benders, and personal references, all played out in monstrous iconography.
Aaron had a 2-person show with Barnaby Whitfeld titled "Don't Be Scared You're Supposed to Be" in Washington DC at Irvine Contemporary. The painting in progress Aaron is holding, "Don't Ask Don't Tell," is his portrait of Barnaby. It's loaded with references to both their work. He had a lot of nice things to say about Whitfeld, and they've been sending photos of work in progress back and forth in preparation for the show. One of the best parts of this painting is a ghostly erection poking out of a vagina dentata, which is ejaculating a spermy ghost of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is then peeing on a flag draped Whitfeld.
Read the full studio visit and see more images at Beautiful/Decay.