Christopher Johnson was born in 1961, the son of a Rhodesian farmer and teacher. After completing a Master of Fine Arts Degree at Rhodes University in South Africa, he swapped an earlier career as a portrait painter for his increasing interest in landscape and figure painting. This combination, found in his African Bus Stop series, often shares the humour and energy of the urban landscape.
In 1989, he left Africa for the UK which has become the springboard for frequent and extensive travels to the subjects which move him most. Working in front of the motif, he will often shuttle the painting between the subject and the studio until it is resolved. The works from these journeys often refer in spirit to painters who have informed his progress towards abstract figuration from David Bomberg, Nicholas de Stael, Milton Avery and Willem de Kooning.
Christopher's work has been exhibited world wide including the United Kingdom, America, Australia, South Africa and Europe. As Mick Rooney, R.A. wrote of him in 2006,
"Christopher Johnson has thrown his lot in with a tougher tribe who from Van Gogh, Soutine, Sheila Fell and Anne Redpath bear witness to the landscape before them, and more importantly – within them."
"Johnson's colours are formidable and lavish; they tackle the Florentine Duomo, the savannah of Zimbabwe and the hills of Scotland with equally transformative power. In each painting the world is taken apart with a palette knife and given back to us more vital than before."
John Cooper, Mellon Fellow in History of Art, Yale University.