Helen Johnson

Born 1979 in Melbourne, Australia. Lives and works in Melbourne.




Agency, Pilar Corrias, London – UK


Warm Ties, Artspace, Sydney — AU


Ends, New Museum, New York – US

Warm Ties, Chapter, Cardiff – UK

Warm Ties, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London – UK


Keep your voice low and you can win any point, Art Basel Statements, Basel – CH

Barron Field, Glasgow International, Director’s Programme, (Curated by Sarah McCrory), Glasgow – UK


Cafe Fatigue, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne – AU

The body is through, Laurel Gitlen, New York – US

Slow Learners, Château Shatto, Los Angeles – US


Ex-execs, Minerva, Sydney – AU

Time Flies, Sutton Projects, Melbourne – AU

At Once (in collaboration with Adelle Mills), 55 Sydenham Rd, Sydney – AU

Just Paintings (in collaboration with George Egerton Warburton and Hamishi Farah), Westspace, Melbourne – AU

Problem History, MADA Gallery, Monash University, Melbourne – AU

I can spare what you asked for, flag for the Westgate Bridge, in association with Melbourne Now at the NGV (in collaboration with Brook Andrew, Jon Campbell and Kate Daw) – AU


Time enough for love, Chapter House Lane, Melbourne – AU

Meantime, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne – AU

Air to Surface (with Parker Ito), Prism (Curated by Liv Barrett), Los Angeles – US


Dead Metaphor, ACME Project Space, London – UK 2011

System Preferences, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne – AU

Universal Remote, Y3K Gallery, Melbourne – AU


An Effort of Memory, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne – AU


On the Make, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne – AU

Love over Gold, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne – AU


Do not go gentle into that goodnight, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne – AU


Some thoughts on interiority, Summer residency presentation, Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany – DE

Australia in the the Seventies, Joint Hassles, Melbourne – AU


Customs and Mods, Galleri Schnauzer, Oslo – NO

Not to be confused with the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (in collaboration with Kylie Forbes), ClubsProject Inc., Melbourne – AU

The time has come to unlearn almost everything you know, Little Salon, Melbourne – AU


Like theatre, like perfume they are dreaming of themselves, Studio 12, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne – AU

You must have been in strange places, Westspace, Melbourne – AU

Live at the Obelisk, Bus Gallery, Melbourne – AU




Trouble in Paradise: Collection Rattan Chadha, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam – NL


The Shape of Things to Come, Buxton Contemporary, Victoria – AU


The National 2017, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney — AU


Painting. More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Curated by Annika Kristensen), Hannah Mathews and Max Delany, Melbourne – AU

TarraWarra Biennial: Endless Circulation, TarraWarra Museum of Art (Curated by Helen Hughes/Discipline magazine and Victoria Lynn), Tarrawarra, Victoria – AU


I wish I never kissed that frog, Jeanine Hofland (curated by Sjoerd Kloosterhuis), Amsterdam – NL

Of deceit, Greenwood Street Project, organised by Tomislav Nickolic, Melbourne – AU

Pleasure and Reality, National Gallery of Victoria, curated by Jane Devery and Serena Bently, Melbourne – AU

Relational Changes, Christine König Galerie, curated by Valentin Ruhry and Andy Boot, Vienna – AT

In my absence, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff (Curated by Dorothea Jendricke), Paris – FR

June: A Painting Show, Sadie Coles HQ, London – UK

The Material Turn, Margaret Lawrence Gallery (Curated by Rebecca Coates), Melbourne – AU

Care, Interstate (Curated by Dana Kopel and Marian Tubbs), New York – US

I refuse to participate in failure, SPREEZ (Curated by Philipp Reitsam), Munich – DE


Nine paintings presentation, The Alderman, curated by Renee Cosgrave and Merryn Lloyd, Melbourne – AU

Fin, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne – AU

Re-raising Consciousness,TCB (Curated by Fayen Devie, Katherine Hattam and Harriet Morgan), Melbourne – AU

Sunny and Hilly, Minerva, Sydney – AU

Sublet, 50 Napier Street (Curated by Matthew Linde and Brennan Olver), Fitzroy – AU


Method and Gesture, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne – AU

Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne – AU

Monochrome Exhibition, Sutton Projects (Curated by David Homewood), Melbourne – AU

Mural Problem, Otras Obras (Curated by Fiona Connor), Tijuana – AU

Decline, Top Shelf (Curated by Harriet Kate Morgan), Melbourne – AU

Third/Fourth, Margaret Lawrence Gallery (Curated by Christopher L G Hill), Melbourne – AU

Wavy Banners Project, ET4U (Curated by Karen Havskov Jensen and Klavs Weiss), Vemb – DK

Collage: The Heide Collection, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne – AU


Negotiating this world, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne – AU

Art & Australia Collection 2003-2013, Regional touring exhibition, various venues, New South Wales – AU

Ode to Form, Westspace (Curated by Kelly Fliedner), Melbourne – AU

Chinatown: the sequel, LTD (Curated by Liv Barrett), Los Angeles– US

Temperament Spectrum, Sutton Gallery (Curated by Liza Statton), Melbourne– AU

Of Virgins, Greenwood Street Projects, Melbourne – AU


Art2: Horsham, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Curated by Hannah Mathews), Melbourne – AU

Subtext, UnProjects at Westspace, Melbourne – AU

You’re Welcome, Fundraiser for the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, Mars Gallery, Melbourne – AU


Stick It! Collage in Australian Art, National Gallery of Victoria, (Curated by Alisa Bunbury), Melbourne – AU

Addition/Erasure, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne – AU


Octopus 9: I forget to forget (Curated by Stephen Gilchrist), Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne; Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra – AU

Cross Colouring (Curated by Harriet Morgan & Sean Bailey), Hell Gallery, Melbourne – AU;

Gambia Castle, Auckland – NZ

Order/Disorder, C3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne – AU


Y2K Artist Run Artist Funded Melbourne Biennale (Curated by Christopher L G Hill), TCB, Melbourne – AU

Robert and Bobby Creely perform ‘Listen’ (1972 Radio Play), (Curated by Harriet Morgan), Joint Hassles, Melbourne – AU

The Library Project, coordinated by Pat Foster and Jen Berean for Frankston City Library, Melbourne – AU

The Nightclub Project: Everybody’s Free, Billboard for Next Wave Festival, Melbourne – AU

Skin and Bones, curated by Patrick O’Brien, Bus Gallery, Melbourne – AU

The Monobrow Show, Hell Gallery, Melbourne – AU


The Independence Project (Curated by Alexie Glass), Galerie Petronas, Kuala Lumpur – MY

A Bridge too Far (Curated by Jacqui Doughty), Alliance Francaise, Melbourne – AU

eg. (Curated by Bryony Nainby), Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart – AU


Octopus 6: We know who we are, (Curated by Zara Stanhope), Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne; Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale – AU

New06 (Curated by Juliana Engberg), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne – AU

Escape Artist-Run Artist Party, (Curated by Christopher Hill), High Street Project, Christchurch – NZ

Great Dividing Range, (Curated by Lisa Byrne), Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra – AU

Group Show (Curated by Sean Bailey and Harriet Morgan), Joint Hassles, Melbourne – AU 



Language Face, Minerva, offsite, Melbourne – AU


WORK, Slopes, Melbourne – AU


Love in the Mourning, Death be Kind, Melbourne – AU


New World Records, Sutton Gallery, (with Nick Mangan), Melbourne – AU


Ugly Heritage, Joint Hassles, Melbourne – AU

Informal Rituals, TBC, (with Alex Vivian), Melbourne– AU


Slide, exhibition program 2005, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne – AU




PHD (Fine Art), Monash University, Melbourne


BFA Painting (Hons), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne




Creative Victoria VicArts Grant


Mollie Holman Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence, Monash University, Melbourne


Artist in Residence, Princes Hill Primary School, Melbourne


Australian War Memorial ANZAC Centenary Print Portfolio Commission

New Work Grant, Australia Council for the Arts

Australian Artists’ Grant, National Association for the Visual Arts (with Adelle Mills)


New Work Grant, Australia Council for the Arts

London Studio Residency, Australia Council for the Arts


Artspace residency, Sydney


New Work Grant, Australia Council for the Arts


Australian Postgraduate Award


Residency, Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder, Trondheim, Norway

Summer Residency, Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

New Work Grant, Australia Council for the Arts

Arts Development (Creation) Grant, Arts Victoria

Ripe Award for Emerging Artists, Art and Australia/NAVA


Arts Development (Presentation) Grant, Arts Victoria


Residency, Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dalsåsen, Dale, Norway

Travel Grant, Ian Potter Cultural Trust


Studio residency, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne




Contribution to Artists Writing, 2000–2015, Jennifer Liese (ed.), New York: Paper Monument 

Critical Ambiguity: A Kantian Reading of Recent Work by Juan Davila,’ Discipline, Issue #4, March

‘Portfolio: Helen Johnson,’ Frieze Online, August 2016 https://frieze.com/article/portfolio- helen-johnson


‘Helen Grace’ – contribution to Frieze Masters: Artists’ Artists, Jennifer Higgie (ed.) Painting is a critical form (book), published by 3Ply, Melbourne

I paint the ground that is beneath my feet – catalogue essay for Ann Debono at Caves, Melbourne

Porosity, machine, subtraction, substitution: on the formal address to politics in works by Brighid Fitzgerald, Rosie Isaac, Nicholas Mangan and Tom Nicholson – with Justin Clemens, Un Magazine, Pip Wallis (ed.), Autumn


Introductory essay for NEW15 catalogue (curated by Matt Hinkley), ACCA, Melbourne

Cover image for Little Star weekly, January 23


Kippenberger aus Australien – Catalogue text for Martin Kippenberger (curated by Geoff Newton), Neon Parc, Melbourne

Contribution to ‘8 Painters on Painting’ (Jennifer Higgie), Frieze Issue #160, January, February

The Now is Not Present, Catalogue essay for Damiano Bertoli, Continuous Moment: Sordid’s Hotel at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne


Memory is not a recording device: On Eliza Hutchison’s ‘Hair in the Gate, a biograph’, Un Magazine, Jarrod Rawlins (ed.), Spring

Is the research your practice, or is the practice your research?, Un Magazine, Jarrod Rawlins (ed.), Autumn

‘Exinterior: On Stanislaw Lem’, Science Fiction/World Making, Amelia Barikin and Helen Hughes (eds.), Surpllus, Melbourne

‘Lend me your ear: On Hany Armanious’s “Fountain”’, Discipline, issue 3

Fiona Connor: Bare Use, catalogue contribution for Fiona Connor at Hopkinson Cundy, Frieze Art Fair, New York


‘It seems like everybody knows everybody already so let’s get to work’, Un Magazine, Summer

‘On contemporary art and criticality’, paper presented at the Australasian Society of Continental Philosophy Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand

‘Scott Mitchell: A silent modification of the specific present’, Un Magazine, Autumn

‘Mira Gojak: A moment an immeasurable whole’, Discipline, issue 2, Autumn


‘Review: Christoph Menke, Daniel Loick, Isabelle Graw, ‘“The Power of Judgment: A Debate on Aesthetic Critique”’, Discipline, issue 1, Winter

Artist’s pages, Discipline, issue 1, Winter

‘Groundwork’, Subtext: Artists and Writing, UnProjects for Westspace, Melbourne

‘Treason and Crime’, Reason and Rhyme, catalogue essay, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, and St Paul St, Auckland

Act Natural, catalogue essay for Annika Koops’s exhibition of the same name, Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne

The Gift and the Curse, catalogue essay for Drew Pettifer’s exhibition of the same name, various venues, Melbourne


New World Records, catalogue essay, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

Nathan, catalogue contribution for Attack Decay Sustain Release by Nathan Gray, Craft Victoria, Melbourne


Gone Bush, catalogue contribution for A Time Like This, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne

Kate Smith, artist page for Un Magazine, Issue 2.2

The Superpit, catalogue essay for Brodie Ellis’ exhibition of the same name, Conical, Melbourne

Happy Days, review, Jason Heller and Lucreccia Quintanilla for The South Project Strange 4 (cover image), postgraduate journal of creative writing, The University of Melbourne


‘Seeing things in black and white: Deutsher and Hill’, Whitehot Contemporary Art Magazine, issue 7, October


‘Door Slamming Festival at Mehringdamm 72’, Whitehot Contemporary Art Magazine, issue 4, May

Black River (illustrations), published by Re:Press, Melbourne

Omnipraxis, catalogue essay for Omnipresents by Christopher L G Hill, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne




Steve Dow, “The Brutal Art,” Art Guide Australia, January 2018


Akkermans, Ari – Barron Field (cat.), Glasgow International, April

Cashdan, Marina and Gottschalk, Molly – ‘The 20 Best Booths at Art Basel,’ Artsy, June 15 (https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-the-20-best-booths-at-art-basel)

Judah, Hettie – ‘Female Artists Take Centre Stage at Glasgow International 2016,’ Artnet News, April 8 (https://news.artnet.com/art-world/female-artists-shine-glasgow- international-469415)

Knezic, Sophie – ‘5th Tarra Warra Biennial,’ Frieze Issue #182, October

Milne, Pippa – ‘Helen Johnson,’ Vault, Issue 13, February

Thorne, Harry – ‘Critic’s Guide: Glasgow,’ Frieze online, 13 April (https://www.frieze.com/article/critics-guide-glasgow )

Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting, London: Phaidon


Berardini, Andrew - ‘Critics’ Picks: Helen Johnson, Château Shatto,’ Artforum online, January 2015 (http://artforum.com/picks/id=49943)

Hessami, Aryana – ‘Helen Johnson,’ Foundations, Issue #3

Knezic, Sophie – ‘Helen Johnson’ (review: Cafe Fatigue) – Frieze Issue #175, November – December

Matorin, David – Reviews in Brief: Helen Johnson, Château Shatto, Modern Painters Vol. 27, Issue 5, May

Rainforth, Dylan – ‘Review: Helen Johnson,’ Artguide, November 2015 (http://artguide.com.au/articles-page/show/helen-johnson-2/)

Smith, Roberta – ‘Review: Kate Newby and Helen Johnson at Laurel Gitlen,’ The New York Times, July 16

Wullschlager, Jackie – ‘Critics’ Choice, June: A Painting Show’, FT Weekend, 06– 07 June, p. 17


Butler, Rex – ‘Modernism: More Popular Than Populism,’ Broadsheet 43.4, Spring

Loughnan, Melissa – ‘Paintings about Painting’ (interview), The Blackmail, offline issue #3, Spring

Mills, Adelle – Foggy shields are breathing poem to accompany Ex-execs at Minerva, May

Rule, Dan – Review: Just Paintings, The Age, ‘Your weekend: In the galleries,’ May 3


Edgar, Ray, Unfurling Flags, The Age, November 29

Frost, Andrew, What can nostalgia bring to contemporary art? The Guardian online, July 31 (http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/australia-culture- blog/2013/jul/31/nostalgia-

contemporary- art-culture)

Martin, Adrian – Volumetric: Helen Johnson (cat. entry for Ode to Form), Westspace

Radford, Lisa, ‘de for,’ review: Decline at Top Shelf Gallery, Stamm http://www.stamm.com.au/de-for/ September/October issue

Rainforth, Dylan, Let Love Emerge, The Age, ‘Space: Around the Galleries’ November 6

Rule, Dan, Helen Johnson: Time Enough For Love, The Age, ‘In the Galleries’ November 23

Rule, Dan, Monochrome Exhibition, The Age, ‘In the Galleries’ September 7

Rule, Dan, REVIEW: Helen Johnson – Meantime, Raven, July 18 (https://www.ravencontemporary.com.au/helen-johnson-meantime/)

Rule, Dan, Helen Johnson: Meantime, The Age, ‘In the Galleries’ July 6

Nelson, Roger (interview) – Hovering uneasily close to sea level, Das Superpaper #27, pp. 66-69, June

Waite, Julia, Meantime (cat.), June

Wise, Kit, Review: Helen Johnson, Frieze Issue #159, November – December


Gellatly, Kelly (ed.), 101 Contemporary Australian Artists, National Gallery of Victoria

McSpedden, Shelley, Game Changer: Helen Johnson – New Painterly Strategies, Eyeline, pp. 48-41, Issue #76

Razer, Helen, Deflowering the authorised history of the Virgin, The Age, June 13 (http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/deflowering-the- authorised- history-of-the-virgin-20120612-207y5.html)

Sutton, Irene et al., Sutton Gallery: The first twenty-one years 1992-2012, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

Time and Vision: Australia Council for the Arts London Residencies 1992-2002, Acme Studios, London

Triguboff, Eleonora (ed.) – Art & Australia Collection/Awards/Projects, Art & Australia


Rule, Dan, Helen Johnson: System Preferences, The Age, June 25, ‘Life & Style’ p. 5


Clemens, Justin, Love over Gold (cat.), Sutton Gallery, June

Gardner, Anthony, About Between Towards Despite Because: On Helen Johnson’s Makings (cat.), Utopian Slumps, November

Gilchrist, Stephen, I Forget to Forget (cat.), Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces

Goh, Leon interviewing Glichrist, Stephen, Forgetting is not an option, Runway, Issue 15, Summer

Nelson, Robert, Moulding with the Imagination, The Age, p. 19, August 19

Rainforth, Dylan, Visual Art (What’s on), The Age, p. 19, June 10


Gibson, Prue, Five female artists to watch in 2008, Vogue Australia, January


Alemani, Cecilia, Present/Future (cat.), Artissima 07, Turin, Italy, November

Backhouse, Meaghan, In galleries, it’s show time, The Age A2, January 20

Clemens, Justin, A Law That Cannot Be Enforced, The Monthly, March

Clemens, Justin & Delaney, Max, Of tents and tenets: some relations between art and politics, Art & Australia, Autumn

Das Individuum und die kapitalistische Gesellschaft (The individual and the capitalist society), Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, West Germany, 27 July

Day, Charlotte, A Plan for Living (cat.), for Artissima 07, November

Fitzgerald, Michael, Helen Johnson, Art & Australia, Summer

Heron, Nicholas, Do not go gentle into that goodnight (cat.), Sutton Gallery

Palmer, Daniel, Emerging Artists, Frieze, p. 137, Issue 104 January – February

Zwischen Träumen und subtiler Kritik (Between dreams and subtle critique), Ruhr

Nachrichten, West Germany, 27 July


Backhouse, Meaghan, Windows into Johnson’s world, The Age, March 21

Benedictus, Luke, A Shot of the New, Preview (The Sunday Age), March 26

Engberg, Juliana, New06 (cat.), The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, March

Green, Charles, Critics’ Picks: Melbourne: New06, Art Forum Online, March

Macdonald, Anna, Everyday Translations (cat.), New06, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, March


Your favourites

Create a list of works then send us an enquiry.
No items found