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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Tim Johnson

1991
Greg Weight

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 40.4 cm x 50.4 cm, image: 35.3 cm x 45.4 cm)

Tim Johnson, Sydney-based artist, was part of a circle of urban conceptual artists in the 1970s. A serious painter at high school, Johnson took an arts degree at the University of New South Wales between 1966 and 1970. In 1970 he founded, along with Mike Parr and Peter Kennedy, one of the original artist-run spaces in Sydney, Inhibodress. In that period of his career he made performance pieces and films, rather than objects, and he was interested in art as a 'language'. In the 1970s he made a series of paintings of the band Radio Birdman. Johnson first encountered the paintings of Clifford Possum, Tim Leura and other Papunya artists when they were exhibited in Sydney in 1977. Three years later, he began visiting Central Australia. On his first visit, Johnson took photographs of Western Desert artists, which he later used as the basis of portrait paintings. As he sought out ways of drawing together threads of conceptual art and painting, Johnson began to paint on the same canvas as some of the Papunya artists. Often, he worked with Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. He was also given permission to employ stylistic motifs used by Papunya artists in his own work, and, importantly, to fill areas of his canvas with dotting. In this way, Johnson's paintings became unique in Australian art. Since then, he has frequently incorporated symbols and motifs drawn from Asian cultures, as well as flying saucers, aliens and cartoon figures in the Astroboy or Pokemon mould. A major touring retrospective of Johnson's work, Tim Johnson: Painting ideas was co-convened by the Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of New South Wales toured in 2009.

Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2004. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Greg Weight (age 45 in 1991)

Tim Johnson (age 44 in 1991)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Patrick Corrigan AM (123 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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Support Crew

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Portraits of philanthropists in the collection honour their contributions to Australia and acknowledge their support of the National Portrait Gallery.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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