13 People, 2001
Acrylic on wood
30 3/4 x 46 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches
(78.1 x 118.1 x 8.3 cm)

California-native Chris Johanson (b. 1968) is a key member of San Francisco’s Mission School. Johanson engages with the meditative qualities of art-making and sincere direct communication through painting and sculpture. Johanson’s work plays between the techniques of figuration and abstraction, as he sees these two modes of working as interconnected expressions of strong beliefs in environmentalism, compassion and peaceful co-existence.

As with much of Johanson’s work from the early 2000s, 13 People is painted on wood panel with rough graphic lines. The work depicts human faces as balloons with expressions at once menacing, silly, and familiar. Though alienated from one another, the balloons float across the composition, rife with possibility.