Dr. Owen Johnson is a Toronto-based glass artist and
sculptor, who was born and grew up near Melbourne, Australia.
He completed a Bachelor of Arts in the Glass Department at the Australian National
and an Honours in Visual Art at Monash
University, with a focus
on sculpture and installation.
This was followed by a move to London, were he began a Ph.D. at the Royal
College of Art, United Kingdom in 2010. The project of his research was titled Glass, Pattern and Translation: A Practical
Exploration of Decorative Idiom and Material Mistranslation using Glass Murrini.
After completing his PhD in 2014, Johnson moved to Canada
were he became an artist-in-residence at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Since completing
his residency, he has taken a position as the acting studio head of the Glass
workshop at Sheridan College in Oakville,
Ontario, as well as continuing to
develop his artwork.
Johnson’s practice examines the links and friction
between abstraction and decorative pattern. His recent work employs optics and
the sculptural form to further this examination. These works are interactive,
with the abstract optical form distorting a field of decorative pattern fused
to the back surface of the sculpture. The shifting optics of the form create
movement and fluctuation in rhythmic structure of the pattern, responding to
the viewer’s movement around the work.
Each pattern used in Johnson’s practice is created
from the position of passionately informed irreverence, challenging 20th
century practices of appropriation by exploring historically significant
ornamental structures and motifs. Each pattern is ‘mistranslated’ into the
material language of glass murrini, a process that changes its context.