artist Mitchell Johnson

Forty two, relatively new paintings by Menlo Park-based artist Mitchell Johnson will be on exhibit in downtown Menlo Park from Feb. 7  to 24. The show takes place daily at 883-1 Santa Cruz Avenue  from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm.

“This is a chance for people to view the artwork in person and talk to me about them,” he told us when we visited his studio in advance of the exhibit.

Mitchell says he “builds paintings,” making what he terms “collages that are totally abstract,” explaining that this is true even in his more representational works.

“As one of my mentors, Josef Albers, explained it ‘can you open your eyes and see more clearly how the shapes and colors really work.'”

In reference to one of the large paintings that will be on view, which shows Russian Hill homes in the foreground along with some very recognizable San Francisco skyscraper landmarks, he comments: “When you are on Russian Hill and see the house, you want the oddness to be there. It’s not about the view, it’s about how strange things really look when you look at them and don’t identify them.”

Mitchell says he spends time in the studio “doing stuff that I don’t really know how to do. Ultimately, all the paintings are experiments.”

What if those “experiments” are successful enough that the painting is sold? “It always hurts a bit when someone buys a piece and takes it away,” he admits.

If you’d like a collector’s preview of the works on Feb. 5 or 6, contact Mitchell: mitchell.catalog[at]gmail.com.

Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2020

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