First Impressions: What you see, isn’t always what you get

Screen printed and blind embossed on paper


22″ x 29″

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Renee DeCarlo Johnson (b. 1972) is an abstract painter and process based artist. Drawing is the primary mode of working for Renee. Her current work inquires and experiments with ideas of tradition and history, structure, surface and color, and the boundaries and relationships between each. Her aesthetic is imbued with elements that reflect on the natural world—where a similar struggle for balance and variation exist. Renee currently resides in San Francisco with her husband, two young boys and their bearded dragon.

“I always begin with drawing, which really begins as mark-making, the essence of drawing. My point of departure, is usually somewhere in a state of chaos – where I leave the environment or a situation in control of the direction to which the marks are made. It is then up to me to find or create a sense of order; to work into the marks and form and build a narrative with lines and layers of color or texture. I work on paper and wood simultaneously, and often integrate them with each other. It could be my eternal longing for and foundation in clay, but my instinctive nature is to seek out the boundaries of a material’s strength and fragileness—and to define its breaking point. Both paper and wood seem to naturally coalesce with my need to push and pull. I use painting, printmaking, embossing, sewing, collaging, incising, tearing and perforating to draw, and choose my surfaces and materials accordingly.

Aesthetically, my work is imbued with elements that reflect on the world around me—where struggles for balance and variation exist in the spaces between order and disorder. I’m constantly on the prowl for that moment of discovery and opportunity to evolve. How a drawing begins and ends, spans the spectrum of, and defines the delicate balance and spaces between chaos and control.”

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