Ever expanding his oeuvre, Johnson has worked with several materials, from clay to wood and metals. In 2007 he was starting to experiment more with paint, and has incorporated it beautifully into his wooden sculptures. An expert craftsman, he has worked off and on in construction, refining his wood-working skills. Whether his works are figurative or symbolic, they are most often wry and thought-provoking.
“Utilizing the neutral background of the wall I attempt to draw the viewer closer to my objects by employing simple yet seductive materials and forms. Often, functioning doors provided an object with a “split personality”. When the doors are closed, there is a sense of introversion. When they are opened, the work offers an overabundance of forms, colors and ideas. Familiar images applied to these interior shapes may sometimes be clues to deciphering the content of the work, which typically deals with issues concerning man’s relations to each other and to nature.”
— Jay Johnson
Robert L. Pincus, art critic for the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote about Johnson’s solo exhibition at the Athenaeum Music & Art Library, saying:
“The two major qualities that make Jay Johnson’s art so persistently compelling come together gracefully in “Smoking Room,”… One of them is his genuine gift for elegance – not easy elegance, but the taut sort of understated beauty that emanates from a keen sense of how to use materials and employ symbolic images. The second quality is his fascination with the relationship between a single form and surrounding objects, which takes a new form in this show.”