JESS JOHNSON was born in New Zealand in 1979. She lives and works in New York.
The concept of world-building lies at the center of Jess Johnson’s work, which reflects her interests in science fiction, language, technology, and theories of consciousness. Over several years, her drawings have documented an increasingly complex fictional world; they are meshworks of cultural symbology, humanoid clones, messianic figures, and alien runes placed in architectural settings. Her drawing practice feeds into installations and collaborations in animation, music, fashion, Virtual Reality, and textile art. These additional mediums bring the world of her drawings into physical and virtual spaces, providing an immersive experience for audiences.
In 2018, Johnson and her video collaborator Simon Ward developed TERMINUS, a major five-part virtual reality commission which premiered at the National Gallery of Australia. TERMINUS is currently on a multi-year tour throughout Australasia. Jess’s second solo exhibition in the US, Panspermia, Sing Omega, opened at Jack Hanley Gallery in September 2019, and another solo show, Neon Meat Dream, her first in Japan, opened at Nanzuka Gallery in Tokyo in November 2019.
Jess Johnson’s work has been exhibited throughout New Zealand, Australia, the US, and internationally where she has participated in solo and group exhibitions at Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; Art Basel, Hong Kong; Nanzuka Gallery, Tokyo; Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, UK; Centre Clark, Montreal; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand.
Since relocating to New York, Jess has undertaken studio residencies at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY (2019); MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire (2018); International Curatorial & Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY (2016-2017); a thematic residency for artists working in themes of science fiction at the Bemis Center in Nebraska (2016); and at the University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery in conjunction with a solo exhibition at the Edinburgh Arts Festival (2016).
Jess Johnson is represented by Jack Hanley Gallery, New York; Darren Knight Gallery, Australia; Ivan Anthony Gallery, New Zealand; and Nanzuka Gallery, Tokyo.