Paintings by Johan Wahlstrom
First Thursday reception April 7, 6-8PM
Exhibition Duration: April 7-July 3, 2016
Organized by Lara Pan who wrote the following synopsis and biography:
Johan Wahlstom is one of today’s brightest artists who is making a conscious effort to describe the social political landscape of our contemporary world. The work is relevant on many levels. His use of political iconography and brash painting style brings to the fore a raw juxtaposition of issues facing everyday life. The use of corporate media’s images and information gathered from various news outlets are the underpinnings of his compositions. A narrative emerges that is a time capsule of our society today. A sharp critique of fascism and authoritarianism is a reoccurring theme throughout. In his current series, “House of Lies” Wahlstrom depicts a world full of deception, ignorance and chaos. In some of his monochromatic paintings streaks of black tears connect distorted faces, creating a chorus of potentially suffering voices in a singular composition.
The titles of the work may be ironic at times but the painting’s narratives strike a true emotional chord with the politically engaged viewer.
Johan Wahlstrom was born in 1959 in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a fifth-generation artist on his mother’s side. Though art was in his blood, his first creative direction was rock and roll, where he had a successful and long career as a keyboardist and singer, touring with Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Mick Ronson and many Scandinavian artists. After 18 years, the rock and roll life caught up with him. Wahlstrom moved to a small village in France where he did nothing but paint for seven years, part of that time under the tutelage of Swedish artist, Lennart Nystrom. Wahlstrom’s dark narrative paintings of heads and torsos in acrylic and ink are inspired by cryptic, often ironic social critiques that he collects on scraps of paper in his studio in Malaga, Spain, where he now lives. Wahlstrom’s graphic, neoexpressionist style is inspired by Jean DuBuffet, Paul Klee and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Since 1999, Wahlstrom’s work has been displayed in galleries across Europe and the US, and was a highlighted artist .