Rooted in the community of San Francisco’s Mission District, Chris Johanson, born in 1968, engages with issues of urban realism. His works oscillate between the realms of graffiti, comics, and street art. His drawings and paintings on wood panels show revealed increasingly eccentric formats, until in 1995 they began to leave the walls and occupy the surrounding space, which developed into a kind of expansive installationism with recycled materials and found pieces. Johanson’s reduced visual language, abstract surfaces, and simplified visual effects prove consciously oblivious to the great expectations and ambitions of more acknowledged forms of contemporary art. His works combine political and social commentary, anti-war slogans, and consumer critique as a narrative commentary on the American city. Johanson’s work attests to the fleeting activities and grotesque phenomena of a society occupied with self-discovery using gripping narratives full of dark humor.
In 2008 Chris Johanson showed his works at Casa Encendida, Madrid, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, and Deitch Projects, New York. He also showed his work at Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2002), the Whitney Biennial (2002), CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2005), New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2005), and Deste Foundation, Athens (2006 and 2007).