Art texts written by art critics are designed to bridge the gap between art and the public, shedding light on its meaning. These descriptions serve to unveil hidden elements within a painting that may go unnoticed by the viewer. In this way, the written word complements the visual language of the artwork, enhancing our understanding and appreciation.

Occasionally, artists find themselves taken aback by the content of these articles. It is not uncommon for them to be surprised by how accurately an art critic can convey their artistic intentions. Such instances serve as a testament to the critic’s ability to truly grasp the essence of the artwork.

Allow me to present a text penned by Agnieszka Gniotek, a renowned Polish art critic. Her portrayal of my art strikes me as remarkably precise and insightful.


Abstraction artist painting landscape and portrait

Jolanta Johnsson’s work is a very humanistic narrative. The author is really interested in two issues only: human and nature. The dynamics of her artistic path are due to the fact that at certain times one theme dominates over the other, is more and more explored and more impassions the painter. But never has the exclusivity. When series of landscapes are created – as it is happening now – Johnsson from time to time still returns to portraiture. Often, moreover, are the returns to older works, with the attempt of deepening them psychologically or changing them completely, with newly selected techniques or meanings.  This is why the construction of this exhibition is dualistic. 

Synthesis in landscape

The leading theme is the latest series of landscapes. They form a kind of balancing act between abstract and realism. In my opinion they express what it is in any work most valuable – the synthesis. Two series of works relate to the element of water. Each of them shows the subject from a different point of view. The attempt of watching the water’s surface from above brings the interesting results. On one side is depicted the vibrating existence of color patches, on the other are the reflections of the sky and clouds. These impressions were captured on significantly sized canvases. The author also focuses on movement on smaller works, which can create spontaneous frieze, and which form of exposure – vertical or horizontal – does not seem to be a pre-requisite. But this is not a nervous twitch and iridescence of the surface, but fluidity, mobility of the element, which here although it is relieved and threatens no one, it shows its overwhelming power.

The recent Johnsson’s landscape paintings stand out against her previous achievements with the choice of colors and the method of applying them. This change is another determinant of the dynamics of the author’s paintings. In certain periods of her artistic career the colors of her work are sonorous, with clean, lush palette, balanced with strong contrasts, which cause the impression of fluorescence. In other periods she is interested with monochrome creations only, almost with no nuanced contrast, where search for pure color fails. The shapes are embedded in the background completely, protruding from it, with color and impasto as well. This variability in the artist’s work makes Jolanta’s achievements constantly intriguing to the viewer. For her the creation of her works is indeed a never-ending adventure. Recent landscapes are an emanation of pure colors and strong contrast. The situation in which the color is a response to the light.


At the opposite extreme is the work of a few monochromatic portraits. I will come back to them, only signalling their presence now, to show that the artist’s one series of landscapes is essentially a formal transition between these two themes.

Clouds Over the Fields

I am pointing out the series „Clouds Over the Fields”.  Not very large number of works in muted colors completes the capabilities of Johnsson’s palette. Although they are dim in color, they also do not resign from contrast. The creation of these intriguing images hopefully will be developed. Rounded, very sensual shapes show nature in its successive layers.  They indicate that we are a part of it, that we cannot be abstracted from it. It’s another way of looking at nature, not from the top, rather from the inside. The presence of this series of works shows the analytical abilities of the artist, her temperament of a scientist who is deeply absorbed in tracking a problem.

This approach to the landscape is visible when one collides with different series of paintings. Looking at Johnsson’s present human portraits and figures one does not need statements to capture the analytical attitude of the artist. Here you can see exactly scientific meticulousness of the considerations and in-depth psychological approach. It’s not just about depicting the truth of the model. The process goes much further, to the purely painterly level, when the image breaks away from the man, becomes an anatomical representation – again synthesis – of the human condition.

This argument is easily defendable because Jolanta Johnsson reveals – as the part of the exhibition – the secrets of her workmanship.  The artist also shares them in media interviews.  She is interested not only in painting, but also in drawing and printmaking. Each of these techniques requires a different approach. The ink drawing do not allow the torturous, arduous amendments, which some of Johnsson’s images can not defend. The printmaking operates through experiment and subsequent matrices, reproduced on the same sheet. They are not retouches, but next layers of meanings. When one combines together all the stories of man, it emerges from them their deep humanistic metaphor of human life. Not very optimistic, but definitely real.

Agnieszka Gniotek