06 Helen Johnson

Helen Johnson, Painting is a Critical Form, 2015

Helen Johnson, Painting is a Critical Form, 2015

Helen Johnson, Painting is a Critical Form, 2015

Helen Johnson
Painting is a Critical Form
Softcover, 100pp, 130 x 195 mm, offset
Edition of 1000
Design by Nicholas Tammens
Published by 3-ply and Minerva, 2015
ISBN 978-0-9873555-5-3
RRP AUD 28.00

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Within this theory book, Helen Johnson considers the operations of painting today, proposing means by which painting, as an aesthetic practice, might continue to make a critical address. She describes the book thus:

Being a painter in a post-medium specific context does not mean approaching painting as some sort of anachronistic refuge, or thinking that the modernist project of the specific medium can be rehabilitated, or even continue to be flogged. As a site for the production of meaning, painting is a rich field of loadings, neuroses and suggestiveness that can mesh with aesthetic qualities to make a charged conceptual space. Focusing on works by Juan Davila and Martin Kippenberger, this book proposes an extended understanding of how painting can operate aesthetically, grounded in Immanuel Kant’s formulation of aesthetic experience as implicitly connected to critical reflection. Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement constitutes the basis of a mobilisation of aesthetics for the reading of painting beyond formalism, embracing aesthetic criticality as an open position of refusal, rather than the dogmatic pursuit of a rational conclusion.”


Painting is a Critical Form’ is the first of a new series, This-Ass, that publishes modified versions of Ph.D. or M.F.A. dissertations, authored by practicing contemporary artists.


  • Launched in Melbourne on May 2nd 2015 at the Melbourne Art Book Fair, National Gallery of Victoria. LAUNCH SPEAKER: Elizabeth Newman
  • Launched in Sydney on July 12th 2015 at Minerva.
  • Launched in Los Angeles on July 24th 2015 at Château Shatto.