You’d never guess that Helen Johnson is an art therapist as well as a painter when her subdued hanging canvases come with titles like Late mirror stage, Transfence love, and Lack. Women, whole or in body parts, are thrown around these images by chaotic lines in shifting scales and perspectives. They’d like you to know that they’re thinking of serious matters (see Constituted object) but can laugh it off, too (Das Ding Dong). A series of smaller works at the back of the gallery momentarily inspires Bataille’s Story of the Eye but Johnson dispels such risqué associations with another run of prosaic captions.
This is the work of a mind that, having needlessly spent years in analysis, became hooked on ennui. Or, just as likely, of an artist who wasted her studio time misreading Lacan to the detriment of her praxis. The unescapable result are these dull, if technically proficient, paintings of boredom made for dull eyes. Their lack, in turn, is profound.