Mandy Johnston is a multidisciplinary artist who works mainly with alternative materials, sculptural installation, and alternative photographic and printmaking techniques.
She holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of the Witwatersrand and now lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Johnston’s passion for sharing knowledge has led her to be involved in artist-led initiatives, to develop and present professional practice workshops and to mentor artists within her practice.
Johnston has presented 5 solo exhibitions, most recently showing at Circa Cape Town in 2020 and, was presented as the festival artist of the Klein Karoo National Art festival 2019. Johnston's work is part of multiple corporate and private collections such as RMB and ABSA.
Awards include the PPC sculptors award, Ithuba trust award, Absa Atelier, Sasol new signatures and the Martiensen prize.
I am interested in contradictions and binaries, so I often consider how something has been defined by its antithesis or the possibility of its absence and how this shifts its value and meaning. Absence often create possibility, a once filled space for example becomes open and vulnerable to be absorbed, used, ignored or quoted. Absences are also that which exists “unseen”, such as light and shadow.
I try to make work that is layered and accessible at various levels. I employ, interrupt, or subvert the contextual and traditional definitions attributed to materials to comment on broader societal conversations.
Back to back: They faced each other (Everard Read l Circa cubical series) In conversation with Cow Mash, Cape Town
SPUN (Klein Karoo National Arts Festival) Oudtshoorn, reshowing, Pretoria
Reasons for Silence (Lizamore and Associates gallery) Johannesburg
In the Presence of Absence (Absa Gallery) Johannesburg
Subject to Change (Room) Johannesburg
Marquette, (Johann Van Heerden Gallery) Shrapnel and other treasures, Curated by Carina du Randt, Pretoria
On a good day, (Johann Van Heerden Gallery) Pretoria, Curated by Cow Mash
Hindsight, (Lizamore and Associates gallery) Two person show in conversation with Cow Mash
Salt prints, (Trent gallery) Pretoria
A thing constantly announcing its own absence (Platform 13), ‘Precarious winter's tales of earth, wind, fire and rain’ Cape Town
Between the lines (Platform 13) Fish Hoek: Two person show with Gordon Froud
Sacred and Profane (Lizamore and Associates gallery), JHB Sacred and Profane group show
Books (Priest Gallery) The Underword. Art book and object exhibition, Johannesburg
Art book (Trent Gallery) Pretoria
Curator/Creator ( Absa Gallery) Curated by Lucia Boer. Pinhole works. Johannesburg
Everard Reed: Material City, Paper sculptures, Salt works and prints/ ink drawings
Cloud I, II, III (Art room), Here be dragons, Salt Prints. Turbine Hall Art Fair
“untitled” Assemblage: monotype exhibition 2016, Drypoint -monotypes
Fabrication (KKNK) Catalyst curated by Lucia Boer. Pinhole drawings. “Fabrication, The body, the façade, the architect.”
“o’s and x’s” (KKNK) The Spaces Between Maps | Kartografeer Tussen die Kaarte'. Curated by Stephan Erasmus. Cyanotype drawings. “o’s and x’s”
Cyanotypes: Caste and Duality (Open @Open) A group exhibition curated by Lucia Boer.
“Mnemiopsis leiyde” (Lizamore gallery @ Turbine Hall Art Fair) series of sculptures in copper wire and shadow 20 x 15cm and 2 series of cyanotypes 20 x 20cm.
Kingfish (Kalashnikovv Gallery) in association with Constitution Hill, Johanesburg 'On the back of his words'.
“Caste” (PPC sculptor’s awards) cement and steel pins. Pretoria
“Ouroborus I – XI”, Inhale I, II, III. (Lizamore and Associates gallery), Materiality, Johanesburg
“Degrees of Separation” (Absa Gallery) Assemblage group exhibition. Degrees of Separation 2014
“Ouroborus I and II” (Turbine Hall Art Fair 2014) Concept sketches in copper wire on paper. 630 X 760mm
“Duality” (Nirox Sculpture fair) Copper 6.5 x 6.5m with extension cables. Johanesburg
“Exorcising the Fetish” Bayliss Gallery, Triptych. Johanesburg
“Ouroborus” and “Exorcising the Fetish” Absa Atelier, Absa Gallery, Triptych. Mixed media sculptures
“A Negotiation” (Diptych Assemblage: Group exhibition), Salt drawing and Marquette sculpture A collaboration with Sandile Radebe. (2013). 2 x 2.5m.
“Dutiful object I: Pomogranate”, New Voices group show, Artspace gallery, Mixed media, resin and silver, Nov 22 – Jan 30 (2013).
“Dutiful object II: Oroborous” Turbine Hall Art Fair 2013 copper wire (2013)
“Dutiful object II: Oroborous KKNK, 29 march” copper wire (2013)
“Fabricated”, Absa Atelier top100
"Become like me and I will accept you" / "I am a stranger without you". Mixed media
"Traversed and recorded 2012", Ithuba Trust Award
“Fabricated I and II”, Media Mill. Outsiders group show, 50% cotton paper
“Coir”, Absa Atelier, Absa Gallery, Coir on Paper, Finalist
“Playground I, II, III”, <Dis/play>, Goethe on Main, playground sand, Johannesburg
“What demolish meant?”, NewARC Studios launch exhibition, Newtown, wax and bricks,
“War of the worlds I, II, III”. Jan Cilliers group exhibition, Johannesburg
“War of the worlds I, II, III”, (Artspace) 360 Degrees Johannesburg
“Transcending the Material” (PPC Young Sculptors Awards, Merit Award) Pretoria
“Crucible” (Assemblage) Group exhibition, Johannesburg
“Coir” (Joburg Fringe), Assemblage Group exhibition, Drawing and Sculpture, Johannesburg
“All this will pass” (Assemblage: group exhibition), installation with salt, Johannesburg
“Restraint” (Sasol New Signatures competition), Pretoria Art Gallery
Prior to 2011
Arbitration ‘Johannesburg art gallery ’ A performance piece curated in collaboration with
Anthea Moys as part of the “Negotiate” exhibition at (2004)
“Salt Lines” Johannesburg Art Gallery and Joubert Park project - A performance piece for
“Makeshift’ -A project initiated by the Joubert Park Project. Johannesburg and Canada art galleries(2003)
Solo exhibition towards Masters (Bag factory studios) Johannesburg (2002)
“untitled” ABSA Atelier. Top 100 (1999)
“Purity and Danger”, Sasol New Signatures, Photographic prints of installation (1999)
Present/Absent University of the Witwatersrand body of works tour USA representing (1999) “cake”, Marteinssen Prize winning exhibition, merit award, installation (1998 and 1999)
Master Fine Art (2000-2003) University of the Witwatersrand.
Masters solo Exhibition: Bag factory Johannesburg. (2002)
Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours (1997 – 1999) University of the Witwatersrand.
Majors: History of Art, Fine Art and Art Criticism.
2015 - Caste (PPC sculptor’s awards) cement and steel pin, sculpture, Johannesburg
2012 - “Coir”, Absa Atelier, Absa Gallery, Drawing, Finalist , Johannesburg
2011 - "Become like me and I will accept you" / "I am a stranger without you". Mixed media sculpture, "Traversed and recorded 2012", Ithuba Trust Award, Johannesburg
2012 - Transcending the Material (PPC Young Sculptors Awards) Finalist, Pretoria
1999 - Purity and Danger, Sasol New Signatures, Photographic prints of installation, merit award
1998 and 1999 - Marteinssen Prize winning exhibition, installation, merit awards