Angela Johal

Earth Patterns No. 2

Angela Johal grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60s and 70s. Her smooth, pristine, geometric, hard edge paintings are reflective of the California hard edge and psychedelic artists, textile designs and music from that period. In 1985, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from San Jose State University and currently paints full time in her San Francisco Bay Area studio.

Johal calls her paintings “Chromesthetic Geometrics” because they are created in accompaniment to music where both together react directly upon the emotions, where there is a blending of the senses, a chromesthetic experience where heard sounds evoke an experience of color on the
canvas. She believes that it is possible for the viewer to experience sound when they view her paintings. Many of her paintings are titled after musical terminology.

It is important to her that her paintings be truthful. “I want the flatness of the painting and color to be the subject, which is reflective of the Colorfield painters. My goal is to create illusions of 3D space with mainly flat color. I used to feel that my illusions were false when I painted in a realistic manner. My paintings also have a slight Op effect, which helps to create a movement and rhythm”.

The artistic process begins with drawing multiple sketches or cutting and arranging shapes and gluing them down on paper until she is satisfied with the composition, one that is balanced and energetic. A final plan is drawn up with dimensions and transferred to a sanded canvas using straight edges, templates or compasses. She uses heavy body acrylics while applying varying widths of tape onto the canvas to achieve a neat, hard edge. Halo effects form on the edge where two colors meet similar to the effects of the early Pointillist painters. The painting process involves little planning as colors appear randomly. She likes to“risk all” and allow the music to influence her color choices intuitively. “It’s like a puzzle, a balancing act, and sometimes I purposely add a toxic color halfway just to challenge myself where I then have to save it from disaster. This, strangely enough, usually makes my painting better, and less predictable. The viewer keeps looking for a color pattern and keeps looking, but can’t find one”. This is most intriguing to her painting process, to keep the viewer rhythmically moving about her work which she believes, has a calming effect.

Geometric shapes appear in most of Johal’s work because she believes that these shapes are easily understood by people of all ages, races, nations and cultures and speak to everyone, can be easily understood and very complicated at the same time.. “Geometric shapes are a balance between the world that is visible and the world that is invisible. They reach beyond what the eye can see.”