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Banana in Jar. 102cm x 76cm. oil on Canvas

'Best B4' is a cumulative experimental body of work made up larger than life oil paintings. This body of work focuses on a contemporary reinterpretation of Still life.

Through the years, parts of this body of work have been Exhibited across the Uk and Ireland in different exhibitions, published in Aesthetica and Irish Arts Review Magazines as well as winning various awards. 

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Lemons and Limes in r. 120cm x 80cm. oil on Canvas

'In this body of work, Johnston subverts many of the traditions associated with still life painting and presents his subject matter in unfamiliar ways – in jars or painted over in vibrant pastel tones – deconstructing the objects from their recognisable connotations and building new relationships with the meaning they once held.

These vivid images deal with the subject of mortality and reveal how Johnston sees all still life as a comment on death.  He presents food slowly decaying in glass jars, burnt bottles, deconstructed cakes in jars, and a bowl full of roadkill.  The veneer of vibrant colour is juxtaposed by the fact that we are in fact witnessing decay, and the freshness of Johnston’s subjects is merely superficial.'


 Ben Crothers,  Curator of Naughton Gallery


Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition 2017 

26 May - 10 September , York Art Gallery

'Stephen Johnston’s recent paintings have focused on reinterpreting still life: food slowly decaying in glass jars, burnt bottles and a bowl Full of roadkill offer a plethora of emotional responses. These vivid images reveal how the artist sees all still life as an inherent comment on death. The Old Masters also made this social commentary through Vanitas, often setting up luxurious scenes garnished with riches and Foods. These materialistic icons were undermined by a sense of fleeting momentariness. Interested in presenting subject matter in an unfamiliar wag, Johnston deconstructs objects from their
recognisable connotations and builds new relationships with the meanings they once held.'


Aesthetica, The Art & Culture Magazine, issue 76, April/May Edition 2017


Limes in jar. 120cm x 90cm. oil on Canvas

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KPMG Young Artist Award,

THE RUA Annual 2016

135th Royal Ulster Academy of Arts Annual Exhibition

Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


'Of the other awards, aLl selected by the individuaL sponsors, the biggest in terms of cash is the KPMG which went to Stephen Johnston for his oiL on canvas Cake in Jar. What we see is a KiLner jar, inside of which is what one might call a deconstructed cake: broken egg Shell, yolk and what Look t: be the remains of various wrappings, the whole painted in veristic style, though he does not consider himself to be a photo-realist. According to the artist, his work is'a continual experimentation : deconstructing inanimate objects in a slightly surreal manner'. Johnston is also noted for his portraits, having appeared in the Hennessy Portrait Award for the past two years.'


Brian McAvera, pg 452, Irish Arts Review Magazine, volume 33, issue 04 winter, 2016.


Eggs in Jar. 120cm x 90cm. oil on Canvas


Peas n pods in jar. 100cm x 70cm. oil on Canvas

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Chillies in Jar (ii). 100cm x 70cm. oil on Canvas


Fish in Bowl. 120cm x 90cm. oil on Canvas


National Award        

Platform Open Art Annual Exhibition,

Morphets of Harrogate, 6 Albert Street, North Yorkshire, July, 2016


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Irish Arts Review : 8 under 40 - Artists to watch


Irish Arts Review listed 'eight artists under the age of 40 who independently and boldly explore the imaginative possibilities of paint.' The listening jar' was presented and I was listed as one of the 8 Artist under 40 in Ireland to watch.


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The Listening Jar. 100cm x 70cm. oil on Canvas

Oranges in Jar oil on dabond stephen joh

Oranges in Jar. 121cm x 85cm Oil on Dibond Panel

Chocolate Bar - Mini Series 


Maltesers in Jar. 100cm x 70cm Oil on canvas.

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Caramel Bar in Jar. 100cm x 70cm Oil on canvas.


Mars Bar in Jar. 100cm x 70cm Oil on canvas.


Twix in Jar. 100cm x 70cm Oil on canvas.

'BEST B4' is a solo exhibition showcasing a range of prints of all the still life jar series that took over four years to produce. The unique selection of works in print format varied in sizes including A2, A1, and A0. 

For information about enquiries or commissions please get in touch.

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