Rashid Johnson

Solo Exhibition

The Power Plant presents Rashid Johnson’s first solo presentation in Canada.


For his first solo presentation in Canada, American artist Rashid Johnson will undertake a major new site-specific work. This will be the fifth iteration of the Clerestory Commission Program, which invites artists to respond to The Power Plant’s central light-filled space.

Johnson has attained prominence internationally for works harnessing the rich symbolism and histories of varied materials. He is renowned for minimalist black grid constructions that serve as carriers for materials including plants, shea butter and other artefacts—objects that reference collective aspects of African-American intellectual history and cultural identity.

Since 2015, his output has encompassed representational works entitled Anxious Audiences. For The Power Plant, Johnson will develop an ambitious new work in this series, enveloping visitors amongst an accumulation of portraits incised in West African black soap and wax on white tile panels. Reflecting a sense of collective unease, this crowd of faces will emerge through a process of ‘drawing through erasure’ into the viscous black surfaces.

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977, in Chicago, Illinois) is based in New York City. Johnson is among an influential cadre of contemporary American artists whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history. His work is known for its narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects, often associated with his childhood and frequently referencing collective aspects of African American intellectual history and cultural identity. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘The Rainbow Sign’, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2018), 'Rashid Johnson. Hail We Now Sing Joy', Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI (2017), 'Rashid Johnson. Hail We Now Sing Joy', Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO (2017), 'Rashid Johnson. Within Our Gates', Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2016) and 'Fly Away', Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY (2016).