Saturday, July 23, 2011

Johannus Boots Searches for Life meanings in 'Oneness'.

This is another of Johannus's multi level works. If we look carefully at this painting, the path we see looks like a tunnel through the forest, which leads his walker towards a golden glow of mist.

This is the kind of painting which we can each interpret existentially. We live alone, and our experiences are ours alone to interpret and we walk on a well worn path which others have taken before us.

The dog is the caveat in the picture.  The dog playfully relates to the walker and the walker has his/her hand stretched out.  There is a feeling that our journey is not nakedly alone but that we can and do connect with life outside ourselves in a meaningful way.  We are part of a natural scheme of things.  Look closely into the branches and you will see that the dog and walker are not alone. They are surrounded by the presence of phantom people and animals.  

When I look at Johannus's works I find myself wondering if this is an experience which I have shared with the artist,  for I have frequently wondered if I am treading on ancient pathways where native peoples once walked softly in moccassined feet.  The faint outlines of faces in the trees suggest an almost spiritual kinship with these ancient presences.

I like the way message and craft interact and this work.  I am impressed by Johannus's deliberate small brush work. Each leaf is carefully defined and each blade of grass is carefully articulated,  so that what we think we know so clearly, slowly and surely surrenders to the unknowable golden mist before us. The future we journey towards is warm and pleasant and mysterious. 

Note how Johannus understates the walker by dressing him in subtle greys. In some respects, the playful black and white dog, is more a dominant presence.  The dog is posed in a sideways position, whereas the person in grey walks with his back towards us and away from us.  I find myself wondering, if I am the person in grey and am I as unresponsive as the walker to the natural order of things in life? Like the great artist that he is, Johannus hands us many questions but few answers and by so doing, he draws us into his work, to make a mental relationship to it.  Taking all in all, its a very spiritual work, painted by one of the best.

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