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Huffington Post, October 2013, Priscilla Frank, These Sock Paintings Are More Unsettling than you Can Imagine
What do you get when you mix Francisco de Goya's taste for horror, Nickelodeon's passion for the playfully grotesque, and the contents of an abandoned laundry machine? The sock paintings of an artist named Aaron Johnson.  Johnson turns crusty old foot garments into an unexplored artistic medium -- a three dimensional impasto as effective as it is self-ridiculing. In Johnson's words: "The sweat-soaked, toe-nail-torn, holey socks create a painterly surface punctuated with orifices, phallic bulges, and a swirling seductive physicality."  Simultaneously accurate, poetic and laughably overblown, Johnson's words mirror his artwork's ability to prove a point and make a joke at the same beautiful time.  "'As I stare at this painting, it stares back at me, and as I stand here in my two socks, so does the painting hang there in its many socks,'" Johnson recalled in an email to the Huffington Post Arts. "That seemed absolutely absurd, and therein somehow startlingly profound." And then, we'd like to add, absurd again, which is part of Johnson's charm.  For his "Sock Painting" series, Johnson called out for sock donations through social media, exchanging used socks for original drawings. The socks he received, despite their banal former lives, possessed ghostly qualities, containing within each fiber the DNA, the steps and the stories of so many friends and strangers. When looking at Johnson's squirming socks it's hard to tell if he's stumbling upon their hidden spirituality or has completely lost his mind. We're pretty sure, however, this is all part of his plan.  Be warned, some sock art is NSFW. (We never thought we'd say that.)  "Sock Paintings" will run from October 11 until November 16, 2013 at Gallery Poulsen Copenhagen.

Black Book, October 2013, Scott Indrisek Aaron Johnson's New Work Moves from Foot to Canvas read interview here

Modern Painters,  January 2011, Scott Indrisek
In the current dismal state of the nation, viewing Johnson’s explosively grotesque paintings is suddenly a bit like looking in the mirror. As subtle as a popped blister, they ransack the cultural vernacular—Christianity, Thanksgiving, war, Michele Bachmann, Babe the Blue Ox—and spew it back in our face, with plenty of blood, guts, and bodily fluids. And let’s take a moment to appreciate that the announcement card for this show features the image of a military-helmeted dog crapping in Jesus’s mouth while fellating him. God Bless America.

New York Times, Art in Review, Roberta Smith, 10-17-08
Star-Crossed at Stux Gallery:  Aaron Johnson seems to have found a new use for his love of searingly grotesque figures and carefully controlled painterly excess: lampooning what he depicts as our latest long national nightmare. The characters of his new paintings are often quite specific, although some of the details have been changed to expose the guilty. They include George W. Bush with enormous pink horns, about to devour a plate of steaming human heads using a Statue of Liberty and a Jesus as utensils; a jesterlike Uncle Sam atop a camel; and Lady Liberty again, this time big, as a Cyclops being assaulted. 
In paintings like “Juggler,” “Thumbs Up America,” “Hell-Beast Rushmore” and “We Get Results (Las Resultas de Goya),” the personalities are less specific, but the bite doesn’t soften. In some works, coiling, fire-breathing beasts indicate close attention to the often violent demons of Himalayan art; in others Peter Saul seems to serve as inspiration. These works are as vehement visually and decoratively as they are politically. Colors are livid; techniques range from glittery Lyrical Abstraction splashes to micro-checking and dotting.
Mr. Johnson gives a hint of the intricacies of his technique in the show’s lengthy subtitle: “New Reverse-Painted Acrylic Polymer Peel Paintings on Polyester American Flags.” This is a mouthful, but if you look carefully it is all there in works that are visceral, beautiful and flamboyantly timely, which is saying a lot.

Art News, November 2008, Valerie Gladstone
Star-Crossed at Stefan Stux Gallery:  Aaron Johnson is angry, talented, and courageous. In 12 huge, garish paintings, and 8 finely drawn works on paper, he takes on everyone from President Bush to Johnny Appleseed, Lady Liberty, and even Jesus Christ. He portrays his characters killing randomly, having sex, torturing others, and destroying everything in their paths. Johnson paints images on clear plastic then collages them, establishing a slick, three-dimensional look that magnifies the horrors he depicts in grotesque shapes and tawdry acid tones.
As he morphs figures in explosive blasts of protoplasm, Johnson creates a strikingly effective fusion of paint, process, and image that oozes evil. And just to ensure that viewers understand his political position, he uses the American flag as a base for many of his works. The flag was especially prominent in works such as the provocative- and amusing- 'Second Coming of Uncle Sam' (2008) which shows a wild-eyed man wearing a crown as he rides a camel with melted ice cream on its humps. In 'Star Crossed' (2008) a bearded figure in a high hat rapes Lady Liberty; both characters are one-eyed like the Cyclops.
While every painting in the show had a point to make, some of them took viewers off guard with their deceptive beauty. The red, yellow, and brown swirls of color in 'Death of a Monster' (2008) at first glance suggested a vivid, gorgeous sky and only later registered as the end of life. Johnson's presentation was a tour de force of talent and passion.

DART International, #21 Fall 2007, Christopher Hart Chambers
Hellhound Rodeo at Priska C Juschka Fine Art:  Aaron Johnson's discoveries have to do with constructing weirdo paintings and applying unique and rather involved techniques. His gnarly, glaring monster mash imagery comprises hard edge goblety gook patterning, drips and psychedelic moldy stuff; splots, gobs, and collaged elements swirling amid iridescent, apocalyptic catastrophes of missiles flying into wart nosed humanoid geeks and gibbering cretinous demigods in blazing sunbeams and undersea netherworlds. Like Ivan Albright meets Christian Schumann while on acid in Philadelphia in 1976. Or perhaps a bit more like protean proterozoic anthropoids quagmired in a miasma of gargantuan genuflecting goblins and skeezed-out tweeking chimera. [Johnson] deals with cheap trash culture, plastic resinous membranes and anarchistic tendencies . . . a fifth generation pop artist rediscovering the American myth.

Beautiful Decay, Issue T, 8/2007, Yaelle Amir
Using an innovative painting process and unique language, Aaron Johnson creates seductive works that deliver a biting critique of the over-all current state of society, and its American constituent in particular. Figurative in form and conceptual in nature, these paintings are replete with contradictions and seemingly infinite bits of information that are amalgamated to illustrate the continuous struggle of man and the beast that lives within . . . . . . .Johnson investigates the physical and mental structure of our culture through contradicting elements of both form and content. On the whole, the works are dominated by clashing components- the use of collage bits vs. swooping painterly gestures, rigid geometric forms vs. organic ones, or the expression of attraction vs. repulsion to name a few. Their overall structure also holds an inherent incongruity, where the constrained modernist grid provides the foundation upon which the ornate and chaotic scenarios unfold. Even the leading characters are forever teetering on a fine line between beauty and the grotesque . 

Village Voice, 6/5/2007, Best in Show, R C Baker
Hybrids of the id, Johnson's monsters are collaged from pictures of rolled cold cuts and human and animal body parts. These nightmares range across his large paintings like walking, exposed intestines, bloated and veined with psychedelic colors. Add op-art-ish backgrounds and rainbow splatters, and the horror vacui sensation is akin to Bosch's overpopulated Hell or underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson's warring pirates, whose faces erupt into grape-shot coagulations even as they engage in drooling copulations. Be sure to take a gander at the back of the painting suspended from the ceiling to more fully appreciate the formal rigor underpinning Johnson's lovely abominations. 

New York Times, 11/4/2005, Art in Review, Roberta Smith
Fiend Club Lounge, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art:  Just in time for the Halloween season, the semi-abstract intestinal forms of Aaron Johnson's paintings have tightened into full-fledged rainbow-colored ghouls. They now have skin or at least outlines, faces and often wardrobes as well as profusions of dots, repeating patterns and bits of magazine images. These obsessive details keep their gaudy protoplasm in a state of convulsive turmoil. In ''Flower Swallower,'' for example, two snarling, transparent Kabuki monsters have at each other, their entrails fully visible. Streaming with paint and led by digits that appear to have lives of their own, the hurrying harlequin called ''Mr. Fingers'' is about to disintegrate all by himself, unopposed. 
Mr. Johnson's manic dotting, small-dice collages and shambling mutant figures have numerous precedents; Chris Ofili, Fred Tomaselli, Erik Parker, Bryan Crockett, Stephen Charles and Peter Saul come to mind, along with R. Crumb and Robert Williams. But his work bears up well under the weight of such obligations. A boon is a fittingly crazed technique that involves painting the images on clear plastic and then collaging them together on translucent plastic. One result is an unusually efficient fusion of paint, process and image that, whether you like it or not, teems with decorative malevolence. 
Village Voice, 10/20/2005, Voice Choices, RC Baker
Slathered onto construction fence mesh, these six-foot-tall-beasts, concocted from photo collages of gaping mouths, slobering tongues lolling over yellowed fangs, and oozing orifices (both human and animal) crammed with gelatinous appendages, are pushed past mere outrageouseness through splashy but considered paint handling. Johnson's unique surfaces turn garish carnival compositions into something lurking on the dark side of beauty.