RAW: Origin, at Melbourne's Chadstone Shopping Centre, one of the recent breakthrough works by Johns.
Publication: The Advertiser
Date: 25 October 2002
Author: Tim Lloyd
Title: Steeled for success
AN Adelaide sculptor has become subject of a major book by international publisher Macmillan. Greg Johns works out of a shed in his back yard, but is a frequent exhibitor in New York and London, and his international profile has grown rapidly in the past two years.
His works, often large raw steel shapes, are spotted throughout Adelaide city, but they are also held in public and private collec- tions from Asia to the US and Europe. While South Australian artists are occasionally the sub- ject of locally published mono- graphs, few are picked internationally.
The art book, titled Horizon, is richly illustrated and was written by local art educator and critic John Neylon.
Neylon says that after 25 years, Johns has come to the fore with $100,000-plus commissions and rising interest from international collectors. Australian collectors have also turned their attention to his work.
"What has happened in Mel- bourne and Sydney is that there is quite are-emergence of sculpture," Neylon says. "We are getting big sculpture prizes and it has suddenly become big business again, and people are happy to buy major works."
Johns is best known for big steel sculptures weighing many tonnes. However, he works in other styles, most recently in works that comment on the landscape. Johns, 49, is more remarkable for being entirely a product of SA. He was born in Adelaide, trained at the SA School of Art and has worked here in relative isolation.
Neylon says the task of writing the book went slowly for several years until international publisher Macmillan became enthusiastic about the project, and greatly expanded its scope, including a complete catalogue of the artist's work.