'TimeScale' continues Ian Johnson's enquiry into the conceptual and physical implications of man's impact on the urban and natural landscape and ways that this can be configured intuitively. It consists of inter-related sculptures, drawings and assemblages that interlace attributes of the elemental with various concepts of organisation and categorisation common to man's need to understand his own history and development.
Cultural anthropologists studying cultural diversity, collect data on the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. The empirical purity of knowledge gained when the standard model for measurement can only really come from within the single cultural reality of the observer, reveals the complexity and questionable objectivity of any conclusions drawn. Johnson works not from the assumption that sense can ever be made from his own enquiry but rather that sense can be 'felt'.
Methods of presenting artefacts in museums; the classification and ordering of exhibits in an attempt to explain a culture or plot a history, is referenced in the drawing 'Timescale (light box #1)' which provokes contemplation and quiet objectivity. The tabletop sculpture with carefully positioned, painted black seeds entitled 'Badlands' (In the gallery window) assumes a long-lost logic. It is an aberration of modern taxonomy; a perverse panorama for some ulterior game-plan. Placed around the walls, the three small sculptures – 'Untitled #1 (Ash)' / 'Untitled #2 (Steel)' and 'Untitled #3 (Oil)' could be interpreted as offerings, altar-like objects which have an imperative of origin and meaning beyond immediate grasp, but which provide acute points of concentration formally and conceptually around the room.
In contrast to these objects, which celebrate unavailability, detachment and mystery, the large branch-like forms that dominate the gallery provide a tangible subjective experience. The semi-chaotic over-lay of forms, stacked, strewn and positioned on the floor and partially climbing the walls, creates a sense of location, an apocalyptic landscape. Titled 'Crosswire (Antenna)' they are a caricature of nature, over-simplistic and clearly man-made; a visual confessional.
Text by Della Gooden