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Galerie Sommerlath

"Dining Room " Monochromatic Interior Scene in Sepia Tones by Geoffrey Johnson

"Dining Room " Monochromatic Interior Scene in Sepia Tones by Geoffrey Johnson

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Sepia tones permeate this remarkable oil painting by American artist Geoffrey Johnson, who captures a hauntingly timeless scene. A woman waits by the window of her home, silent, almost absorbed in the diffuse ambiance of the room?

The artist emphasizes the intimacy of his subject, a silhouette between presence and absence whose identity he has limited to a shadow. The woman is treated like a ghost, associating her with the invisible and the forgotten.

In all its diversity, art is a step towards understanding human emotions and, often, an opening into the soul. The canvas analyzed here is that of a seemingly banal dining room, including an old-style kitchen area, inhabited by this quasi-incorporeal female figure. This eloquent artistic choice echos a reflection on the condition of loneliness. Few details appear some paintings on the wall, a dining table with two visible plates, a chandelier, etc.

The sepia tint is emblematic of nostalgia, reminiscent of the photographic process that ages pictures to give them an air of yesteryear. Here, the artist recalls the past, not to idolize it, but to question the persistence of female alienation over time. The deliberate use of a restricted, even desaturated chromatic range reflects a timeless universe in which the female figure echoes across the ages. Like an entity in a sepia photograph, where the being is frozen for eternity, the woman appears and disappears simultaneously, symbolizing the volatility of existence and the fragility of memory.

Johnson confronts us with a profound reflection on our solitude and relationship with time, painting the isolation of women in the hues of a bygone era. Through a technique that magnifies the essential and erases the extra, he resurrects an atmosphere inviting us to reinterpret our reflection on existence.


Born in 1965 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Geoffrey Johnson graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he received several awards and prizes for his artistic excellence. Since 1995, he has exhibited in galleries and venues throughout the United States. His paintings may be found in many private and corporate collections, including those of Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting, BellSouth, and Wells Fargo.

Johnson draws much of his inspiration from his travel experiences and first-hand observations. Using a monochromatic palette of sepia hues, the artist strives to reproduce the places that inspire him. Johnson’s work is powerfully evocative of the French Impressionists’ depictions of city life, interior spaces, and equestrian scenes. From Gustave Caillebotte’s steely, atmospheric renderings of foggy Paris streets and dusky rooftops to Degas’ spindly-legged racehorses, the influence of these artists upon Johnson’s painting is readily visible. His manner of distorting the human figure has also been likened to the skeletal, surreal forms of Alberto Giacometti.

Johnson has established himself as a true innovator, successfully capturing the alluring space between abstraction and realism. His work is significantly influenced by his fascination with both the human figure and the powerful architecture of a modern city. Through a feeling of anonymity, figures become suggestive shapes, and the skyline of New York materializes mysteriously in the background. Johnson’s paintings embody the mood of each urban experience.

Johnson has “always been attracted to interiors, work spaces [and] personal spaces.” Inspired by a box of vintage photographs, the artist has created many sepia toned interiors, as well as scenes in which he broadens his palette, experimenting with brighter colors to help reveal the detail and beauty of the historic homes of the South.

In the studio, he tends to work on several paintings at once, to keep ideas fresh and to avoid becoming limited by one particular style. When preparing a scene, Johnson is drawn to high contrast and images with strong light. For Johnson, each painting is the culmination of “a thousand different decisions, thoughts and feelings” that produce timeless works possessing both simple elegance and haunting solitude.

PERIOD: 21st Century
CONDITION: Excellent
MEASUREMENTS: Height: 33.75" Width: 25.6" Depth: 3"
CREATOR: Geoffrey Johnson

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