Ben Johnson's extraordinary paintings may read like faithful replicas of cityscapes and architectural interiors but it's the blurring between reality and illusion that gives them their potency. 'I use plans, elevations and photographs, and I remember the experience of being there, but essentially I reconstruct the spaces with new rules in my studio,' he explains. As his first solo show opens at London's Alan Cristea Gallery, the artist gives us a glimpse of this transformation in action.
ben johnson
Watch Ben Johnson at work in his studio
To create his hyperreal images, Johnson uses extremely precise computerised stencils and paint sprayers. The final images have an almost haunting polish, and the absence of human presence in the works pushes the viewer into the scenes they depict.
The Alan Cristea Gallery exhibition coincides with another Johnson show at the National Gallery, opening 8th December, titled 'Modern Perspectives'. Here, the RCA graduate will be creating a view of Trafalgar Square in situ - much like he did his 'Liverpool Cityscape' of 2008 at the Walker Art Gallery. Echoing the rigorous geometric composition of the National Gallery's Canaletto, 'The Stonemason's Yard', he will subtly manipulate the topography to create an idealised view.