Barry Johnson – Sumthin’ Sumthin’
Jul 28 – Aug 14 2022
Artist: Barry Johnson
Seattle-based artist Barry Johnson works explore a deep investment in his cultural heritage. His work was created to combat the overarching absence and erasure of Black figures throughout time. Noting how canonical Western history has obscured and annulled Black history, Johnson’s work echoes this deletion only to reclaim that very same space.
Johnson’s portraiture series displays a unique range of techniques. Elements of collage, stoic faces and partially obstructed figures are emblazoned by bold strokes, shapes, and colors that imbue each of his characters with zeal and strength.
The duality between the sober expressions of the figures and the vivacity of the canvases is the artist’s pointed reminder to the audience that the contributions of artists of color are vast and yet rarely acknowledged. Johnson addresses this inequality and he and his figures alike demand better. As tangible, personal investments to right a flawed narrative, each of the works presented evoke their own energetic tenor and comment on the mental trauma in dealing with the effects of an ever intolerant and racist society.
Johnson has received the Edwin T. Pratt Award, smART Ventures award, GAP Award, and was a finalist for the Conductive Garboil Grant, Neddy Award and Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award. Johnson’s work has been shown and collected throughout the nation. He’s also created multiple permanent artworks regionally, including an immersive mural for Facebook’s Bellevue Office during his Open Arts Residency with them and a large-scale permanent fabrication and sculpture for the Midtown development in Seattle, WA.