Residency Art Gallery is beyond ecstatic to present The Atmosphere of Certain Uncertainty, a solo exhibition from Devin B. Johnson. This exhibition will run from September 21stthrough November 16th, 2019, with an opening reception that will take place on Saturday, September 21stfrom 7pm to 10pm. The Atmosphere of Certain Uncertaintyis Johnson’s first solo showing after completing his Masters Degree of Fine Art at Pratt Institute in May 2019.


The work presented in The Atmosphere of Certain Uncertainty was created in response to Franz Fannon’s 1958 novel “Black Skin White Masks”, in which Fannon attempts to break down and conceptualize the contemporary black male psyche.  Johnson metaphorically reinterprets the “white mask” as white socks that serves as a reminder of that assimilation we walk into everyday just as much as the mask, as implied by Fannon.

Artist Notes

I wasn’t aware of my blackness until someone told me that I was different. For me, the contrast of white against black skin speaks to a type double consciousness we navigate through everyday. In the series “White Nike Socks on Black Skin”, I simply wanted to attach these concepts and ideas to a classic LA convention such as slides and socks. The bodies present in the work are always a non-violent body, a body that just wants to simply be.

“Stuck home sweatin to the Gods.

“Its 84 degrees but it feels like 103 inside the house because the A/C hasn’t been working.

Mom and Dad say it will be fixed soon. It seems like clothes aren’t a option.

I’m bare.

Bare skin sticks to carpet.

Underwear and socks stay.

There’s nothing to do today but stick it out. I learned to master the heat.

The only relief was to it put mind over matter”


Devin B. Johnson

Johnson is a multi-disciplinary artist living in Brooklyn. He works primarily in the language of painting. Johnson’s work is based on fragmentation and reassembling of socio- cultural structures. He often paints from sourced images, urban landscapes, and a lexicon of familiar experiences. Johnson combines examinations of the black aesthetic, through gestural mark making and uncanny imagery. The paintings are an amalgam of exterior and interior moments of the black body within liminal spaces. Johnson is inspired by the textural quality of urbanity in which the materiality of the paint imitates the textual surfaces of facades found in the landscape. Those tactile moments in the landscape are often negotiated within paintings, sculptures, sound and mixed media collages.  Through gesturalmark making and uncanny imagery the figures both address a type of clarity and a type of erasure. His compositions speak to the fragmented nature of memory and how it is reshaped when it is revisited. The background and foreground of the paintings become heterogeneous hovering between the figurative and the abstract.  Johnson obtained his BA in Fine Arts from the California State University of Channel Islands (2015) and received a Masters of Fine Arts at Pratt institute (2019). Devin B. Johnson is one of 16 artists from around the world selected for the inaugural year of the Black Rock Senegal residency program in March 2020. He has shown abroad and has shown in various group shows across Los Angeles including a recent group show this summer with Nicodim Gallery Trans World (2019). Devin B. Johnson was awarded the recent honor of being featured in the Northeast and MFA issue of New American Paintings (2019).

Devin B. Johnson