Artist Statement

I paint because painting takes me on a ride. I get to explore my inside story (-ies) while ostensibly using tools from the material world. For me, there’s no better way to spend my time. In conversation with others, I am often quiet, allowing them to dominate. In the studio, however, the conversation is a visual excursion through my own thought and emotion. It’s a lot of emotion: frustration, doubt, curiosity—always accompanied by fear and insecurity. It’s a wild, often uncomfortable, ride.


I work in silence—except what’s going on in my head. I respect silence. Visually and intellectually, it’s a juicy space. It’s active, not passive, in my estimation. Out of silence comes real insight, real connection. Silence shows me what is obvious about my work: that it mines the richness of color, that color and texture speak with one voice in my paintings, and that shape and composition drive the structure of my work. I always try to correlate what is happening in my paintings to what is happening in my life. My paintings confirm that silence, which I treasure, is not empty. Rather, it is replete with pre-verbal knowing and its own, internal architecture.


Minimalism and, specifically, Agnes Martin are my historical references. The simplicity for which the Minimalists strived is a guiding principle in my own work. I adopt for myself the concept that less is more. My process varies from say, Agnes Martin, in that I do not approach my canvases with a preconceived idea. The results of my painting are weighted, not ethereal. In addition to color, I play with collage and wax until I reach a point where I am both uncovering and discovering something about the painting. My energy incites me to create a history of mark-making, including building up surfaces in order to cut them away and reconstruct them. On this ride, the painting process reigns.

© Anne Johnstone, 2018