Apartment on Cardboard
Apartment on Cardboard (2000) is an exterior view of an abstracted apartment building. Viewers unwittingly become voyeurs, peering through the rectangles that stand for windows and observing the residents therein, who ponder questions both mundane and existential: “Where is Ron now?” and “What have I become?” The queries and characters are treated democratically—not judged, praised, or subjected to hierarchy. While their thoughts are specific, the painting captures a universal urban activity: looking across to the building next door and wondering about its residents, all the while knowing that they have probably looked over and wondered about us, as well.
The prolific Chris Johanson produces paintings, zines, installations, and sculptures that are notable for their earnest, almost childlike abstraction. His work delves unabashedly into the emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of human nature, tracking points of commonality and difference using simple shapes and lines as well as an unflagging sense of magnanimous humor.