Contact: Johanna [at] johannabolton.com
I want to bounce my ideas against matter, against the human body – the resistance they meet there teach me something new every time. I am interested in how concepts and language affects human understanding of the real life-world out there – and in here. The human body is perhaps the first case of matter that has become self-aware.
I do conceptual-based sculpture, I photograph and collect. The world is too complex to be understood, but I will never give up. Pay close attention, the amazing mass of information needed to describe even the most humble object can truly give a glimpse of infinity, and is my path to the sublime. I like to observe this in the everyday. Finding strategies to observe and record the quotidian invisible, whether the blindness is caused by routine or a problem of conceptualisation.
I make and collect open series of objects going through change. They follow a system, sometimes rational and sometimes intuitive, but the series have no natural end – their start, end and the rules that govern their path is as personal and haphazard as any aesthetic or artistic choice may be. Artists like Mel Bochner and Sol LeWitt investigated systems, but set the rules so that the end point is given – I am interested in the awkwardness of systems where the end point remains elusive (e.g. the work of Hanne Darboven).
I work in many materials; clay, plaster, wood and plastics. The objects tend to be sculptural, human scale and tactile. Sometimes they take on the character of a three dimensional stop-motion film. Arranging the collected series becomes an investigation into the creation of meaning and narratives. A semiotic experiment studying the nuances of language; the structure, the power of it and what fills the blanks caused by limitations to what we can say.
I spend a long time looking at the same object, hoping that by changing viewpoint, I will eventually discover something new. This new, ‘other,’ that I am hoping to catch, is maybe something akin to Adorno’s Nonidentity – the part of any object that eludes capture by the concept. I want to expose those parts of an object that cannot be communicated via language, to take something familiar and create something of universal strangeness.
2016- ongoing Member of AltMFA and artist research group 3 Musings
2011-2014 BA Fine Arts, Chelsea College of Art
Relevant Work Experience
2014- 2016 Visiting Tutor at Royal College of Art, Information Experience Design programme
Group Exhibitions, Events and Residencies
‘Gerlesborgs Vårutställning’, Stockholm, Sweden
‘CLASHANDCONVERGEII’, Camberwell Space, London
Participated in event and publication at TATE Britain; ‘What I talk about when I talk about my thoughts’
‘Entwined’, student group exhibition at Chelsea College, London
‘Breast Milk (Lactose 2)’ image used to promote ‘Acrobat’ Short Film by Eduardo Menz, supported by Canada Arts Council
‘For Every Action there is an Equal and Opposite Reaction’, Westminster Reference Library
‘Editions’, Chelsea College Art Library, joint exhibition between the Fine Art departments of Bristol and Chelsea.
‘Joyless Unity’, Mori + Stein Gallery, Camberwell, London
Chelsea College Degree Show
ING Discerning Eye, invited by Chris Ingram
Off the shelf, I’klectic Art Lab, London
The Motion of Matter, Bow Arts’ Rum Factory Project Space
The Observer Effect, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art
The Other (RCA Feminist Society), Darwin Galleries, Royal College of Art
Circumbendibus, Shonibare Guest Projects, London
PREFAB-Lab, Bath Fringe Arts Festival
eYEbAll presents ‘Position 1′, Project Space Wapping
‘I TWANG’ performance at the Royal Academy, Burlington Gardens Festival
Elastic. Performative Art Research at the Nunnery Gallery, London
Multi-function, online exhibition (AltMFA) GalleryELL, New York
‘States of Flux’ (AltMFA), Art Licks Weekend, London
‘Drawing Utopias,’ IKLECTIK Art Lab, London
Unknown Futures (AltMFA), Shonibare Guest Projects, London
eYEbAll presents ‘Position 2’, Project Space Wapping, London
‘Solutions’, Rotherhithe Beach Party, Art Licks Weekend
Emergency 2017, Word of Warning, Manchester
‘Pre-sliced Orange Segments’, Light Eye Mind Gallery, London
‘Word Play’, Forest Gate Arts, London
Residency in Kew Herbarium, November 2017-January 2018
‘Here be dragon’, What I talk about when I talk about my thoughts, Group Publication and Event at TATE Britain 2012
‘The Study of Elastic Bands in R3 Euclidean Space’, Artist’s book (edition of 50), 2014
‘Circle or Oval?: Concepts, Non-identity and the Lifeworld’, Symposium: Material Others and Other Materialities, Informed Matters, IKLECTIK Labs 2016
Grants & Scholarships
Shortlisted for the Mead Scholarship 2013
Shortlisted for the ACME studio award 2013
Art works held in UAL Collection, and private collections