Exhibition | Claudette Johnson: Darker Than Blue

Claudette Johnson: Darker Than Blue

22 June – 15 September 2024

Claudette Johnson is one of the foremost artists working in Britain today.

Blues Dance by Claudette Johnson
Claudette Johnson, Blues Dance, 2023. The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust), purchased with support from the Garcia Family Foundation, 2024. © Claudette Johnson. Image © The Courtauld. Photo: David Bebber.

Her primary subjects are Black women, including herself, and, more recently, Black men. Through these figures, Johnson employs a powerful style to explore the body;

her work challenges perceptions of identity, sexuality and wider political and social constraints, particularly those affecting Black diasporic communities.

Our exhibition will present several new works by the artist in the Barber’s freshly refurbished gallery space. It will reveal the intimacy of Johnson’s work, through line drawings and sketches of contrasting scales.

Claudette Johnson was born in Manchester and is deeply connected to the West Midlands through her studies at Wolverhampton University’s School of Art. As the recent exhibition The More Things Change… (April – July 2023, Wolverhampton Art Gallery) explored, Johnson was a vital member of the Blk Art Group formed in 1980, a radical group of artists that began the ongoing challenge to readdress the lack of representation of, and support for, Black artists.

We are honoured to be collaborating with Johnson on this exhibition, which will be the artist’s first solo show in the region. It will be accompanied by an interdisciplinary programme of events. This exhibition follows Johnson’s widely acclaimed retrospective exhibition Claudette Johnson: Presence, at the Courtauld Gallery, London (September 2023 – January 2024).