Chris Johanson

American (San Jose, California, 1968)

The Sunlight of the Spirit Is the Warmth of Love

2004
installation | acrylic and oil on wood
Not on view at this time; find out where you can see works from our collection at locations around the Bay Area while our building is closed for expansion
  • The Sunlight of the Spirit Is the Warmth of Love

    Chris Johanson, The Sunlight of the Spirit Is the Warmth of Love, 2004; acrylic and oil on wood, 144 in. x 325 in. x 60 in. (365.76 cm x 825.5 cm x 152.4 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Purchase through a gift of the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation; © Chris Johanson


Johanson, a key figure among San Francisco's "Mission School" artists, combines social criticism with a certain optimism in his installations. His work often conceals sophisticated content beneath a seemingly naive, folk-art style of execution.

Made of wood scraps scavenged from the city's streets, the figures here stand on a brown table that is evocative of the earth. With their thoughts, roles, and names spilling down their sides, the figures seem to represent the relationships between people who compose a society — civilians, scientists, warmongers — and the various problems that exist within it, such as greed and war.

But Johanson mitigates the harshness of these observations by placing the figures before a gigantic, colorful explosion — a recurrent motif in his artworks that he describes as "just super-positive energy." Though Johanson has observed that "the world's a mess," his hope for change finds expression in this juxtaposition of earth and energy.


144 in. x 325 in. x 60 in. (365.76 cm x 825.5 cm x 152.4 cm)
Acquired 2004
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation
© Chris Johanson
2004.231.A-O

Tags

sun, beams, rays, showers, colors, human figures, tables, sunbursts, platforms


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