'The Kerchief or Dr. Olfato's Welcome', Lee Johnson

Portrait of a man in a hat smoking a cigarette

2009, Oil on linen, 65 x 45.2 cm

Artist's statement

There are many levels of reality that are picked apart through diverse disciplines such as philosophy, art and the novel. Within painting, and specifically portraiture, there are painted realities and painted fictions; fictitious paintings and fictional realities.

Since moving to a new studio and ditching all my previous work (except a small quasi-religious painting of a bearded man with a silver platter of fish balanced on his head) I bought my first easel and sat down to paint for the first time. When I wasn't painting
I was writing and characters developed in my paintings through the writing of short stories, which I may or may not get around to publishing.

Painting and the portrait have rich histories that cannot be refuted yet can always be undermined, both of which may or may not be good things. I attempt to hover between the two.


Lee Johnson was born in Wiltshire in 1975. He studied at Leeds Metropolitan University 1994-97 and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design London 2000-01. Group shows include 'Lexmark European Art Prize' Air Gallery London 2002, 'Narcissism: Self-Love to Death' GOZOcontemporary Malta 2003,
'Scenes in Perspective' Artower Agora Athens 2003 and 'High Risk Painting' Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art Sunderland 2006. A recent solo show was at 'The Free Art Fair 3' Barbican
London 2009. A short story 'The Same' in a collection called 'Thirteen Stories' was launched at Whitechapel Project Space
London 2005 (Miller & McAfee Press).