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Peter Selz Interviews Mitchell Johnson (2009) Perfect Paperback – October 20, 2009
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About the Author
Peter Selz, Professor Emeritus of Art History at UC Berkeley, is the author of many reviews, articles and books on 20th century Art including German Expressionist Painting (1957), Sam Francis (1975), Nathan Oliveira (2002) and The Art of Engagement (2005). He served as curator of painting and sculpture at MoMA from 1957-1965 and founded the Berkeley Art Museum in 1965.
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Included in the 30 odd images of Mitchell Johnson's output are purely abstract paintings such as a very large and impressive 'Outsider' 2008-2009 oil on canvas measuring 78 by 120 inches contrasting with the serenity of the landscape painting 'Torrenieri' 2008. Johnson and Selz clearly explore the manner in which color blocks interweave to transform abstraction to representation, with frequent asides about other painters such as Albers, DeKooning, and Diebenkorn who dealt with siilar issues.
Another addition to this beautifully designed catalogue are more of Mitchell Johnson's very interesting figurative paintings such as 'D&L' 2009 and 'Bornholm(Five)' 2009. These, when placed in context with his landscapes and his pure abstractions, offer a fluid dialogue about many concepts in contemporary art in this erudite studio conversation. Grady Harp, November 09