Glen Johnson is a digital artist working out of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. He obtained a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in the 90’s. He started his career mainly working in marketing on animations for commercials and multimedia presentations. He migrated his career into creating art and animation for educational projects. In 2011 he started working for Home Run Pictures in Pittsburgh and got involved in both programming and animating technically complex animations and effects derived from scientific data. He also built detailed models of many of the planets and moons in our solar system including a large section of Pluto for a VR experience. He has developed apps for mobile, virtual reality, mixed reality, and full dome theaters. Alongside he’s developing a more personal art with VR sculptures and real time animation. Fascinated by digital cultures and mythology, the pieces he creates touch the border between visible and invisible reality, sometimes esoteric, their strength comes from a both delicate and raw aesthetic.
The theme of Mask gets an important place in his art. He thinks of it as a complete part entity allowing the bearer to become another than himself and personify a mythical or archetypal being, who finally may be able to complete actions out of normal human limitations. His work is a continual search, as he says, he still hasn’t found his own plastic form.
Each new work is an additional challenge for building up excitement and suspense. The artist accomplishes this with a mixture of presence and absence, proximity and distance. The augmented presence of his figures allows for proximity and yet it is impossible to enter into direct contact with them. It is as if they were to shy away from any immediate confrontation, be evasive and not permit any interaction. If we attempt to describe their state of mind, despite their open gaze, it remains difficult to classify this as a look of concentration or indifference. The question arises whether his figures look optimistically to the future or if they are caught in their own melancholic blues. They are not in action, and remain unmoved by their surroundings. There are no eyes wandering in search for contact, no eye-catching, but instead, as befits their existence, they are restrained and inwardly focused. If the viewer is prepared to deal with this and to give something of himself, an encounter becomes possible. If we opt to engage, it is hardly possible to avert their gaze, and we are invariably captivated. At this moment, the vis-a-vis becomes a memory disc, a filter, a reflector of what we allow ourselves to see. An impression arises of intimate isolation, which is further enhanced by its unique beauty. The sublime aesthetics of form and expression, less reminiscent of the customary ideal of beauty than of that of the Early Renaissance, is characterized by humble and innocent charm, suggesting a further distance. Meeting up with ourselves is a rarity in our day. This is at once a great gift and a great challenge, since such an encounter with one‘s self is not only the most complicated but also the most inevitable of all our relationships.