Born Sydney, Australia 1947


From the late 1960s until the mid-1970s, Tim Johnson developed a conceptual practice, working with video and experimental forms of art.

Working primarily in painting since the early 1980s, Johnson’s work borrows from a range of cultural and spiritual sources reflecting his particular interests, for example, the image of Buddha entered his paintings in the mid-1970s at a time when he was exploring Buddhism.

In 1980 Johnson visited the Papunya community in Central Australia to see the artists and their works. Johnson visited regularly thereafter and eventually met the artists Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri and Michael Nelson Tjakamarra. Senior community members provided Johnson with permission to use the dot painting technique adopted by Papunya Tula artists, and he also made several collaborative paintings with a number of the artists from the area.1

Since his first solo show in 1970, Johnson has exhibited regularly within Australia, and internationally. His work has been represented in exhibitions including: The Great Australian Art Exhibition 1788–1988, Art Gallery of South Australia and touring all state galleries (1988–89); Out of Asia, Heide and touring (1989); the Biennale of Sydney (1986 and 1992); Spirit of Place, Objects + Ideas at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1997); Antipodean Currents, Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995); and Flight Patterns, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2000). Johnson is represented in many state and regional gallery collections.


1 Tim Johnson: across cultures, (exhibition catalogue), University of Melbourne Museum of Art, 1993, pp. 9-10.