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Kent Johnson, Heads 2010

NEW YORK—192 Books is pleased to present Kent Johnson’s Heads an
exhibition on view beginning October 14. Heads is a series of eight works on
canvas that depict the likeness of famous authors with bold brushstrokes and
vivid colors. With these works, Johnson pays tribute to some of the authors that,
in his own words, “help me celebrate the act of painting.” He continues:

I go into the studio and all these big heads look at me. These giants of literature
bid me reread their words. They give me a hard time. A few give me holy
hell…Often while reading I wonder who on earth could have said such a thing or
one author will mention another and, after some research, I start painting. I paint
faces that interest me of writers who interest me. They occupy lots of space in
my imagination and on the canvas… There's some mileage on some of these
faces—evidence, with their writing, of lives lived thoroughly, honestly. Writers,
to paraphrase T.S. Eliot, gotta use words when they talk to us. Whatever the
impetus, I paint them with respect and reverence, including those disrespectful
and irreverent, to put a face on what I read, and to imbed them in my personal

Kent Johnson received his Master of Fine Arts from CUNY/Brooklyn College.
His works have been exhibited at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, the Socrates
Sculpture Park, and Exit Art New York, among others. He works as a studio and
installation assistant for Mark di Suvero and is an artist advisor for the Socrates
Sculpture Park.

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