Press

Current Exhibition Press

“…Part critique of the idealized California lifestyle, part analysis of food as analogies for human body parts, and 100 percent filled with great artwork titles, you may never look at a cucumber the same way again.” Link Sarah Hotchkiss for KQED Arts

“…Micah Wood’s paintings have a Matisse-like simplicity, and the vibrant palette to match…He uses that style to tackle America’s obsession with diets. By breaking down symbols from within food culture, Wood’s work explores food labeling, gendered consumerism, and the notion that groceries always carry guilt…”Link Sarah Burke for East Bay Express

“…The work promises the sense of having stepped into another dimension, surrounded by an uncanny landscape. ” Link Christian Frock for SF/ARTS

 

Gallery Press

“Johansson Projects has unique architecture, and they have repeatedly used the space in interesting ways…Sennish’s work plays off the gallery’s architectural mix, as well as complimenting its urban location. Her stark and disjointed objects act as remnants of experiential dissidence…” Link Glossary Magazine March 2016

“Oakland, a fresh face on the art scene, continues to be a growing force. Take Johansson Projects, a small, hip venue on Telegraph Avenue whose reliable track record of ingeniously devised, contemporary art exhibitions delivers the unexpected.” Link – Sura Wood for The Bay Area Reporter 2014

“…Johansson Projects Gallery is the gateway to the neighborhood’s art spaces — hip enough to draw fashionable grad students and host rocking parties, professional enough to garner national press. Expect fresh, meticulously well-installed artwork that’s experimental but not obtuse, intellectually engaging but not impaled on ivory-tower exclusivity, often local but never provincial. The facade is inconspicuous, so look for the old-Hollywood-style spotlight…”Link – Kris Vagner for East Bay Express 2011

“…Johansson Projects, has quietly but quickly won a reputation as one of the Bay Area venues to watch for new art…” Link – Kenneth Baker for San Francisco Chronicle December 2009

“Not yet two years old, Johansson Projects has established itself as one of the most consistently compelling independent galleries in the Bay Area, showcasing new and emergent artists in thoughtfully curated pairings and theme-based shows. While many galleries chase after marketable talent or formalist trends, with little attention paid to longer-term curatorial vision, Johansson has cultivated a distinct and cohesive aesthetic that remains open and varied, in conversation with contemporary art movements both local and national. “Collective Compulsions,” the gallery’s first major survey show of its artists, provides an excellent opportunity to see a broad swath of the range of artists featured at Johansson over the last year and a half. On display were a variety of ‘compulsions,’ as the show’s title suggests, in that almost all of Johansson’s artists evince an almost-obsessive attention to detail, from meticulous markings to finely-hewn sculptural investigations into material and surface…” – David Buuck for Artweek April 2009

“… Johansson Projects in Oakland remains among my very favorite spaces. Dynamic founder Kimberly Johansson has built a gallery on the corner of 23rd and Telegraph that would be as much at home in San Francisco or New York, but which keeps a certain East Bay DIY spirit deep inside. Johansson’s sensibilities range from delicate works on paper to kinetic, mechanical and electronic art, all of which is on display this month…” – Anu Vikram for SFMOMA Open Space May 2009

Voted Best Gallery East Bay Express

“Johansson Projects consistently presented thoughtful, eclectic shows with a high degree of professionalism and polish, and, equally notable, a refreshing enthusiasm and absence of art attitude, in keeping with Oakland’s brash, collegial Art Murmur spirit…Art shown in this stylish space (with its permanently installed “Moss Ceiling,” by Misa Inaoka) is postmodern-cool, often involving unusual methods or processes, but well crafted and visually appealing — not virtues one takes for granted these days, alas…

“…Located uptown at the heart of the Art Murmur festivities at 23rd Street and Telegraph Avenue is Johansson Projects, known for its small arcaded gallery surmounted by artist Misako Inaoka’s mock-verdant ceiling and its wittily entitled shows (e.g., Tickling Thicket, Collapsitalism, Flaming Furbelows) of elegantly subversive objects. Representing among others, mixed-media painters/collagists Val Britton, Amanda Hughen, Tadashi Moriyama and Katy Stone, and sculptors Kristina Lewis and Michael Meyers, Kimberly Johansson has created in only two and a half years, by general critical consensus, one of the best and most consistent young cutting-edge galleries in the Bay Area…” Link – DeWitt Cheng for Art ltd magazine July 2009

“…A lively crowd has converged on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and 23rd Street for Art Murmur, Oakland’s monthly “First Friday,” when galleries such as Johansson Projects and Rock Paper Scissors debut new exhibits. Within a block of this nexus, amid squat auto-repair shops and brick warehouses, half a dozen art galleries appear to be thriving, and still more are scattered on the surrounding streets. The energy of the event is likely to catch a first-timer by surprise. It is an after-dark street party with an artistic bent. In the street, scruffy creative types mingle with sharp -dressed office workers, while an avant-garde musical trio adds a sonic layer to the atmosphere…Meanwhile, inside the galleries, some serious art appreciation – and buying – is going on. If you’re in the Bay Area on the first Friday of any month, this is clearly the place to be…now is the most exciting stage in the process, while the city is in flux, open to new people, new ideas, new energy. Increasingly, visitors to the Bay Area are catching on that “there is a there” in Oaktown…” – Tom Downs April 2008 for Salt Lake City Tribune

“…Oakland is as much a part of this experimental space phenomenon as San Francisco. Artmurmur is a consortium of spaces of this ilk in Oakland, and now the First Friday of every month is known to belong to the Artmurmur gallery crawl: Blankspace, Mamma Buzz Cafe, Ego Park, and Johansson Projects, to name a few organizations that are currently a part of Artmurmur…to bring artists together physically to participate in experimental work, interventions, ephemeral performances, and site-specific installations…” – Aimee Le Duc Spring/Summer 2008 “The Liminal Art Space.” Camerawork

“…Johansson Projects presented group shows that were an interesting blend of the established and emerging, always with a smart theme. For the last few months, Johansson has been pairing up her artists into two-person shows. The work presented is intellectually aware, well made and mature…” – Timothy Buckwalter November 2007 for The Monthly

“Kimberly Johansson first got my attention with her show “The Art of Survival” at ABCo Artspace in West Oakland, where she impressed by bringing Jim Campbell and Victor Cartagena into Oakland’s alternative gallery scene. She’s just closed another ambitious, intergenerational show…” – Anuradha Vikram 2007 on “Excavations”

“…Johansson Projects is a new gallery that brings a skillful, spare touch to the corner of Telegraph and 23rd, the hub of a burgeoning Oakland scene that is challenging and reshaping Bay Area arts…” – Anuradha Vikram 2007 on “Thread” for Artillery Magazine

Comments from the Yelp Community

“Hi people. This is the best art gallery in the bay area. Yes that includes San Francisco. Kimberly Johansson has an incredible eye for art that is aesthetically, conceptually and creatively strong and innovative. Every single show I have seen here has been fantastic. The only other gallery that comes close is Postmasters in New York City… Yay…”

“Hands down, my favorite art gallery in the East Bay. I think I’ve seen every show in the last two years, and am consistently impressed — and often blown away — by them. Kimberley Johansson is an incredible curator, and I’ve been turned on to many of my now-favorite artists at Johansson Projects. I’m always excited to see what’s next here.”

“Always my 1st stop on the Oakland murmur crawl. I love the permanent fake grass ceiling, the video installation spaces in the backs of both rooms, and the interesting shows that come through there. This latest one, Propagations, is super anti-establishment end of the world Matrix shit. Really dug it. A lot of female artists, too, which is always great to see and experience.”

“Johansson Projects is easily one of the top galleries in the East Bay. I believe thanks to Kimberly’s curatorial talents the exhibitions are always interesting and the shows are filled with extremely varied but thematically consistent work. There seems to be an emphasis on using materials in unconventional ways in much of the work shown.”

“Best collection of artists I’ve seen in a very long time. Nice to get a little bit of distance from the cartoon/drippy aesthetic that has defined “hipster” art for years now. Don’t get me wrong, love the cartoony thing…but the last show I saw here was a definite step beyond.”

“I kept catching myself just stopping and staring when something caught my eye, not caring that there were lots of people around, blocking out the chit chat and the clicking of our shoes on the bare wood floors. Gracias Kimberly Johansson for adding to my Universe and I’m looking forward to your future Projects!”

Past Exhibition Press

“…Meticulous and moody, Blaise Rosenthal’s asymmetrical paintings are like slow moving boxcars, carrying the freight across a vast American landscape…The eclipsing vastness of Torrents, the largest piece in the show, spreads out before us, a yawning canyon in the night. But the abutment of the two canvases cleaves a line down the middle, causing us to recalibrate our relationship to the painting not as an image, but as an object… ” Link -Square Cylinder on Blaise Rosenthal April 2016

“…Charcoal lines, drawn in painstaking density, assert themselves on earthy canvases, forming monoliths at once imposing and grounding…Repeated chant-like, they lend the gallery the aura of a chapel (heightened by the unique arches in this space). I saw echoes of Serra…as well as Warhol’s piss paintings in the pigment splotches…I thrilled at the recall of Nasreen Mohamedi…” – Colin Fernandes on Blaise Rosenthal Link

“…With the vampire cresting in pop culture, the creepy congregation at Johansson Projects is not only emotionally transfixing, but delivers Fidler’s recurring statements about portrait representation and implied narrative, icon and spectacle, with clarity and verve…” – Alex Bigman on Anna Fidler for East Bay Express Link

“…Among the most compelling works in Luminous Flux 2.0 is Craig Dorety’s Offset Circles — Yellow Flowering Tree Against Blue Sky… The shifting colors and offset composition of the concentric circles is designed to mimic the effect of ocular hallucinations produced during migraine headaches. It’s a disorienting work with a hypnotizing effect that makes it difficult to pull your eyes away…” -Michael Abatemarco on Craig Dorety for Pasatiempo Link

“…In ‘Division,’ San Francisco-based artist Craig Dorety is examining visual limits and perception, bringing our own neurological shortcomings to our attention…” -Nara Shin on Craig Dorety for Cool Hunting Link

“…It’s an exhibition that captivates viewers in a perceptual seduction supplanted by-way-of Dorety’s curious technique and process, which marries soft-edge geometric planes with emotive halos of light juxtaposed in voids of potentiality scaling to infinity…” -Max Eternity on Craig Dorety for Art Digital Link

“Ottinger’s work humorously examines the dark side of social grouping. Signifiers such as pins, uniforms, suits, and bonding activities like sitting in circles and holding hands seem to train youngsters for corporate futures featuring salesmanship, retreats, and trust falls.” – Kelly Inouye on Jennie Ottinger for SFAQ Link

“…these subjects don’t look at you — only in your general direction. This is what renders the paintings so ghostly — not a characteristic of the subjects, but of the displaced viewer. The vagueness of the subjects’ faces severs the possibility of a connective gaze, leaving the viewer with the spooky sensation of sharing perhaps a space but not a reality.” – Alex Bigman on Jennie Ottinger for East Bay Express Link

“…If Ottinger’s own childhood experiences do not lie behind these quietly creepy images, then a juvenile insecurity that burdens most of us – and evidently her – into adulthood does.The low definition of Ottinger’s images, juiced with color but vague as to details, may be truer to the nature of our visual memories than anything that passes for realism…” – Kenneth Baker on Jennie Ottinger for SF Chronicle Link

“In her upcoming exhibition “What To Do With Your Orphan: A Manual,” Ottinger helps plotting godparents figure out the most effective ways to manipulate and exploit their wards while feigning parental love when others are looking. There is something a bit off about Ottinger’s orphans…” – Priscilla Frank on Jennie Ottinger for Huffington Post Link

“…Study Jennie Ottinger’s paintings closely enough and the melancholy bubbles right to the surface. Gray, tan, beige and school-uniform blue permeate quotidian scenes of people in places where they truly do not wish to be… It’s an aesthetic of disquietude, and it’s magnificent, tender, honest without being brutally so. This is why Johansson Projects consistently scores as our favorite gallery in Oakland…” – Peter Kane on Jennie Ottinger for MSN Postbox

“…Jennie Ottinger has a knack for editing a situation down to its most poignant essentials. In her bountiful solo exhibition Due By at Johansson Projects in Oakland, she continues to apply this talent to painting, both in gouache and oil and also extends into literature and book art. She’s successful throughout… Ottinger delivers a seriously fun  cultural romp with just the right dose of neurosis-inducing discomfort. This is a show that lingers long after you’ve departed from the ghostly images and time-honored texts.” Link – Cherie Louise Turner for the Huffington Post

“…Her sparse painting style with its isolated blocks of color and unfinished details is a natural fit for the moments she chooses to illustrate: funerals, court hearings, soldiers at war. I like that she doesn’t necessarily paint the most famous parts of the books either, and instead the images acquire a sort of universality only heightened if like me you’ve read only a smattering of the Great Novels. In addition to her paintings Ottinger has also repurposed a series of hardbacks, wrapping them in painted jackets and excavating the pages so to insert her own blunt, laugh-out-loud synopses of the stories…” Link – Heidi DeVries for Engineer’s Daughter Blog

“…Jennie’s paintings grab you and don’t let go. There is something so honest and human about her work – the crude and sometimes uglier side of people, peppered with a heavy dose of wit. She is one of my favorite contemporary artists…” – Kate Singleton for Jennie Ottinger for Art Hound

“…Ottinger’s retellings — handwritten in a tiny, tidy scrawl that resembles birdtracks across fresh snow — are by far the best thing in “Due By.” Her observations are pithy, and at times, flash an understated brilliance. Ottinger is also, on occasion, not above proclaiming her ignorance of the text she’s writing on and doesn’t hesitate to quote Wikipedia and SparkNotes for backup…” Link – Matt Sussman on Jennie Ottinger for SF Bay Guardian

“Jennie Ottinger was definitely the standout at Nada and the red dots by nearly every one of her painting confirmed we were not alone in feeling this way. We love the gesture of her brush, the soft color palette and their unfinished nature.” Link
 – Kiss and Tell on Jennie Ottinger

“Ottinger is light on fuss and has a gift for economic gestures: she knows how to work a smudge into something horrifically mouthlike… there is almost a comic existential horror to this image (Public Pool) -it evokes the moment when Wile E. Coyote stops running in midair and looks down…Her paintings seem to caution that in life as in death, we risk becoming metonymically condensed into the personal effects-the pictures and documents-that offer only limited proof of our existence.” Link – Matt Sussman on Jennie Ottinger for Art in America Review Nov 2009

“She has a voluminous, involving show at Johansson Projects in Oakland..put a few of Ottinger’s pieces together, put “Man Chat” (2009) next to almost any of them, say, and specious narratives begin stirring in the mind..The peculiar key of Ottinger’s art – intent yet relaxed, a sort of soft-focus tunnel vision – lets it evoke the inner zone where memories of real life, of mediated images, of dreams and of images elicited by stories mingle and get confused…”  Link – Heidi J. De Vries on Jennie Ottinger for Engineer’s Daughter

“…Ottinger’s work is dictated by a beautiful fragility which suggests a sense of impermanence and melancholy…”   Link – Seth Curcio on Jennie Ottinger for Daily Serving

“…Superman costume…When cannily placed near a government-issue personal identification sheet (hand drawn with verisimilitude) and a painting of a school teacher in situ—the modern-day Clark Kent—the associations brim with hilarity. I stumbled around the gallery aimlessly after a while, rereading and revising each story…”  Link – Andy Ritchie on Jennie Ottinger for Artslant

“Harnessing the wonders of technology, Corfield’s world seemingly takes place in the time of the penny arcade. Set up in series, the subjects of her drawings are actors in her world, experiencing real and imagined technological frustrations in their frames… Corfield’s Ether is no celestial paradise, rather it is an unending continuum of technological experiences, revealing the ways we may find ourselves unknowingly caught in its trajectory” Link – Kara Q. Smith on Christina Corfield for ArtSlant

“The show’s language feels a bit distant, like we’re entering a historical archive that’s been tweaked to blur history with fiction. The work manages to remind us that we’re looking at unreal events but also that’s we’re seeing ourselves here. …Corfield’s show, it’s popular entertainment done right, is somehow both timeless and of it’s time.” – Marion Anthonisen on Christina Corfield for KQED Arts

“Hunter Longe and Matthew Draving’s floor-bound sculpture Open Screen Unit grounds many of the ideas afoot in this concise group show… The title indicates that this “screen” is not a surface for the serial, filmic play of images, but a site that responds to the simultaneous, software-enabled production of images. Indeed, throughout the exhibition screens are employed not as spaces of fixity or one-way transmission, but as sites open to fluidity and mutation by their environment and the user…” – Ceci Moss on New Document for Artforum Critic’s Pick

“…Soren’s photographs capture fleeting moments of impressive natural force, producing images of beauty, but Bischoff and Black step beyond wonderment to create works that are documents of their own creative processes…” – Sarah Hotchkiss on Bischoff Soren Black for KQED Arts

“…[Brice Bishoff’s] colorful shapes — which vary in form from blasts of light to smoky wisps — evoke both the caves’ history as a site for staged close encounters of the third kind, as well as nineteenth century spirit photography. They’re also simply beautiful to look at…” – Matt Sussman on Bischoff Soren Black for SF Bay Guardian

“…The experience of viewing the exhibition is one of quiet turmoil in contrast with the inherent beauty of the natural world. Like watching a video of a forest fire with the sound off, you know that something destructive is happening, but you know it will lead to regeneration. And of course there’s no denying how beautifully mesmerizing it is.” – Amelia Sechman on Bischoff Soren Black for Daily Serving

“…Together, the artists present surreal, beautiful, and dream-like images that tell a story of both light and darkness…” – Bonnie Chan on Bischoff Soren Black for Flavorpill

“For the last 39 years, The Residents have been producing underground art, music, and videos that have puzzled many, and created a rabid fan base. The identities of the band members have been a closely guarded secret since 1972, when a few hundred copies of their first record were sent to everyone from the President to local radio stations.” Link – NBC Interview by Josh Keppel of Homer Flynn

“…Artist Dan Grayber has a new show on display in Oakland, at Johansson Projects. It features an ingenious collection of spring-loaded devices that play on ideas of architecture, tension, mechanics, and space. They are more like booby traps—their only spatial purpose to support themselves in states of high tension—or re-tuned Vitruvian readymades sealed in glass. ” Link – BLDG BLOG on Dan Grayber

“…Dan Grayber’s sculptures are machines that only have one function: holding themselves up. But they seem to do it well, and they definitely do it beautifully.” Link – Gizmodo Blog on Dan Grayber

“…Grayber’s combinations of glass vitrines that house a series of well organized springs, steel and mechanics are just plain delightful mashups… In addition to dancing between different mediums, Grayber’s sculptures not only solve a problem but also simultaneously create one” -Juxtapoz Magazine on Dan Grayber

“Johansson Projects in Oakland presents a two-man show that restores to architecture something of its bygone modernist function as an idiom of utopian and dystopian dreaming…” – Kenneth Baker on Outpost for San Francisco Chronicle October 2008

“…While Britton explores the poetics of landscape, Meyers satirizes technological culture with his impeccably fabricated impossible machines and models…The McCoys question technologically mediated knowledge. The VCR in “Video Inversion,” programmed to load a never-delivered videocassette, is an abject protagonist and an object lesson worthy of Ionesco or Beckett…” Link – DeWitt Cheng on Jennifer and Kevin McCoy June 2008

“…Portals offers a memorable journey from our everyday world into a whirling, florescent atmosphere where thought and motion coalesce into engaging, enigmatic objects for our contemplation…the trio seemed remarkably well-suited…Johansson Projects…has assembled another winning and dynamic exhibition…” – Barbara Morris on “Portals” for Artweek July 2008

“…natural motifs and materials to suggest a dynamic cosmos in which hierarchical categories dissolve, freeing their constituent elements to recombine in mysterious mutations. The artworks’ occasional sexual implications are suggested by the show’s sly title, Flaming Furbelows…” Link  – DeWitt Cheng on Flaming Furbelows June 2008

“…pushed far enough, disciplined method can yield a kind of refined madness…”- DeWitt Cheng October 2007 on Michael Meyers & Amanda Hughen in “Transtructural” cover story for Artweek

“…Naughty patches of fur and yarn that emit eerie squeals from their downy orifices, and bloodthirsty insects engaged in combat across surreal landscapes. If those descriptions don’t intrigue you, you’re not freaky enough to live in or near San Francisco. Marina Vendrell’s deranged creatures — a hybridization of castoff mink fur coats and stuffed animals — are endearing and depraved. A duo made up of a Kate and an Eric, Kate Eric’s works enact children’s book-like scenes, but with a violent, postapocalyptic twist. In the new show “Flaming Furbelows,” these Bay Area artists join forces to explore the fine lines separating attraction and repulsion, tenderness and terror — and to prove that perverse art is the juiciest kind…” – L.C. Mason on Flaming Furbelows for San Francisco Bay Guardian

“…From the lush introduction of Inaoka’s aviary through Scott Oliver’s and Britton’s dreamt narratives, to the final fragmenting of Desoto’s audio nonsense, Excavations is visually explosive. The Show hangs in shrapneled beauty…” – Chaz Reetz-Laiolo for Shotgun Review June 2007

“…the Propagations show at Johansson Projects considers the dangers and mysteries of modern life without sensationalism, deploying instead beauty, humor, and even creativity…Paul Hayes’ exhilarating installation of wire-suspended folded paper charges the gallery space with visual power…”  Link – De Witt Cheng April 2008 on Propagations for East bay Express

“Paul Hayes’ gorgeous folded-paper-and-wire sculpture Cultivated Momentum hangs from Johansson Projects’ ceiling like the canopy of an origami kelp forest…Hayes’ and Moriyama’s pieces almost emit an undertow, and after several minutes of gazing at their proliferating forms you have become embedded.”  Link – Matt Sussman April 2008 on Propagations for San Francisco Bay Guardian

“…Tokyo-born Moriyama inks overcrowded, intricately lined urban landscapes that he calls the “ancient future.” Wires spill from windows, feeding a tangled knot in the middle of a warped city. Urban enclaves resemble dividing cells. Buildings sprout organs that seem like they are consuming one another. Moriyama’s work is as much a post-apocalyptic vision – where our material and digital structures are the only organisms to survive – as it is a reflection on the hyper-connectedness and loneliness that coexist in the era of global communications…” – Vanessa Carr March 2008 on Propagations for San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Tickling Thicket, a provocative exhibit by Katy Stone and Yvette Molina, two painters with very different ideas about representing nature…Stone’s Untitled (Thicket Heap): a floor-to-ceiling construction in a tiny room that delivers what feels like an ocean-floor view of a kelp bed: a head-spinning tangle of limbs, vines, roots, stalks and tendrils interspersed with flora of indeterminate species. The range of associative possibilities seems almost endless. In contrast, Molina’s oil-on-aluminum paintings are cool, Asian-influenced landscapes whose loose lines and Symbolist lighting effects bypass the obvious clichés of the genre while simultaneously appearing to engage them…”  Link – David Roth for Art Ltd Magazine

“Johansson Projects’ large-scale multimedia show, Propagations…continues its strong run of well-curated shows as it nears its one year anniversary next month…” – Theo Konrad Auer April 2008 for Novo Metro April Art Picks

” …an impressive and memorable exhibit. An often-unsung genre, fiber art is one that can feel most mysterious, yet closest to home…” Link – Kristin Farr KQED Arts & Culture July 2007 on “Thread”

“…Through this seemingly simple concept emerge complex, rich, and highly divergent works. Devorah Sperber, using math and magic, transforms a panel of thread spools into a refracted homage to Grant Wood’s “American Gothic…”- Jakki Spicer Aug 2007 East Bay Express on “Thread”