Kysa Johnson: Empire Loop

Kysa Johnson: Empire Loop

Kysa Johnson: Empire Loop

Kysa Johnson: Empire Loop

Kysa Johnson: Empire Loop

Kysa Johnson, blow up 200 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's walls which enclosed the slopes of the Caelian Hill (2013)
Chalk, Chinese White, Blackboard Paint On Panel
18.25h x 28w in (46.36h x 71.12w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blowup 182 - subatomic decay patterns (2013)
Chalk, Erased Chalk, Chinese White On Blackboard
49h x 32w in (124.46h x 81.28w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 193 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's Interior View of the Temple of Neptune (2013)
Chalk, Chinese White, Blackboard Paint On Panel
29h x 32w in (73.66h x 81.28w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 193 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's Interior View of the Temple of Neptune (2013) (detail)
Chalk, Chinese White, Blackboard Paint On Panel
29h x 32w in (73.66h x 81.28w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 163 - subatomic decay patterns [decline] after Piranesi's Containing the Remains of a Funerary Monument (2012)
Watercolor, Graphite And Watercolor Pencil On Board
48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 163 - subatomic decay patterns [decline] after Piranesi's Containing the Remains of a Funerary Monument (2012) (detail)
Watercolor, Graphite And Watercolor Pencil On Board
48h x 36w in (121.92h x 91.44w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 168 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's interior view of the Colosseum (2013)
Watercolor And Graphite On Board
54h x 84w in (137.16h x 213.36w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 168 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's interior view of the Colosseum (2013) (detail)
Watercolor And Graphite On Board
54h x 84w in (137.16h x 213.36w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 173 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's Ancient Altar (2012)
Ink, Watercolor, Graphite On Panel
16h x 16w in (40.64h x 40.64w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 165 - subatomic decay patterns (decline) after Piranesi's The Skeletons (2012)
Graphite, Watercolor Pencil on Panel
24h x 24w in (60.96h x 60.96w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 172 - subatomic decay patterns after Hirschvogel's Imperial Coat of Arms
OR It is Austria's Destiny to Rule the Whole World (2012)
Chalk, Chinese White, Blackboard Paint On Panel
24h x 24w in (60.96h x 60.96w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 180 - subatomic decay patterns (2012)
Chalk, Erased Chalk, Chinese White On Blackboard
9h x 12w x 1d in (22.86h x 30.48w x 2.54d cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 184 - subatomic decay patterns (2013)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
54h x 84w in (137.16h x 213.36w cm)

blow up 184 - subatomic decay patterns (2013) (detail)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
54h x 84w in (137.16h x 213.36w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 199 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's view of the Via Appia Antica (2013)
Chalk, Chinese White, Blackboard Paint On Panel
14h x 16w in (35.56h x 40.64w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 196 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's Triumphal Arch (2013)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
18.5h x 19.5w in (46.99h x 49.53w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 198 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's View of the Via Appia Antica (2013)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
14h x 16w in (35.56h x 40.64w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 194 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's Triumphal Arch (2013)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
18.5h x 19.5w in (46.99h x 49.53w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 197 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's View of the Via Appia Antica (2013)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
14h x 16w in (35.56h x 40.64w cm)

Kysa Johnson, blow up 195 - subatomic decay patterns after Piranesi's Triumphal Arch (2013)
Watercolor, Ink, & Graphite On Board
18.5h x 19.5w in (46.99h x 49.53w cm)

Kysa Johnson

Empire Loop

February 21 – March 23, 2013

Morgan Lehman Gallery is pleased to present Empire Loop, a solo exhibition of recent paintings by Kysa Johnson. The exhibition opens on February 21st with a reception for the artist from 6-8pm, and will be on view through March 23rd. An extension of Empire Loop will be presented at this year’s Armory Show, Pier 94, March 7 – 10, 2013.

In her signature style, Kysa Johnson employs microscopic patterns found in nature blown up to an extreme scale to build universal worlds. In Empire Loop, the artist enlarges subatomic decay patterns (the signature pathways that unstable particles travel along when they decay and transform into other subatomic particles) to depict a physical reality that is naturally invisible to the naked eye. By rendering these essential patterns in chalk, ink and watercolor on panel, Johnson removes the subject from a purely scientific context and introduces it into the arena of visual culture.

These seemingly abstract markings are layered to recreate compositions by 18th century artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi. When placed in the broader realm of history and art, these fundamental marks become the building blocks to the compositions of which they are conceptually related, such as Piranesi’s Roman ruins or the seal of the fallen Austro-Hungarian Empire. By combining these micro patterns of flux and breakdown with images of change and dissolution on a grandiose level, Johnson finds a symmetry between the fundamental, physical and systematic parts of our universe.

On one hand, Empire Loop examines decay in its clinical form, and on another it looks at instability on an emotional and historical level. These subatomic patterns correlate with larger movements of people, history and time, suggesting the inevitability of decline in all aspects of the natural and man-made world. As depicted through Piranesi’s images of ruins, Empire Loop refers specifically to the cycle of empires rising, falling and being replaced. With subtle references to the recent collapse of financial giants Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, Johnson draws a parallel to the fallen empires of our own time. As we struggle to find our place in history, this series urges us to consider the full scale of what we are a part of, in both milliseconds and millennia. With a scientific eye, Empire Loop illuminates consistent patterns of change that have shaped our history's past, present, and future.

Kysa Johnson received her BFA from Glasgow School of Art, Scotland in 1997. Her paintings, drawings and wall installations have been exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, Casper, WI, and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT, as well as group shows at deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA, The Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY and the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY. International biennials include the Dublin Contemporary and The Canary Islands Biennial, both in 2011. She currently lives and works in New York City.

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