Jess Johnson Biography


Born, Tauranga, New Zealand. 

Lives and works New York City, United States


Bachelor of Fine Arts, Canterbury University, New Zealand




Terminus (w/ Simon Ward), Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart, Australia


Terminus (w/ Simon Ward), Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, VIC

Neon Meat Dream, Nanzuka Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

Panspermia, Sing Omega, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, USA

Terminus (w/ Simon Ward), Tauranga Art Museum, Tauranga, NZ

Artist Wall Commission, Facebook HQ, New York, NY, USA


Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, Genetekka Archaic, a collaboration based on an old school video game, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu, Christchurch, New Zealand, (ongoing).

Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, Whol Why Wurld 2017, Melbourne Art Fair TIME Sector, Melbourne

Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, Terminus, Balnaves Contemporary Art Intervention, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.


Everything not saved will be lost, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York

Jess Johnson and Andrew Clarke, Chondrule Terminus, Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania

Hex Nemesis, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia

Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, Four AM Gallery in association with Untitled Art Far, San Francisco, USA


Art Basel Hong Kong, Discoveries, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

Eclectrc Panoptic, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, Scotland


Wurm Haus, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Sensorium Chamber, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

Endless Future Terror Forever, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

Gertrude Edition 2015, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne

Mnemonic Pulse, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

Electric Affinity:Jess Johnson and Tina Havelock-Stevens, Alaska Projects, Sydney


Mnemonic Pulse, Gertrude Contemporary, Studio 12, Melbourne

Jess Johnson, Ratholes in the Babylon of Information, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand

Gamma World, MCA Façade, Vivid Festival, Sydney


Jess Johnson, Utopian Slumps, Auckland Art Fair, Auckland, New Zealand

Bloodfins and Whipwurm, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

Wurm Whorl Narthex, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, New Zealand


The Rest is Silence, Death Be Kind Gallery, Melbourne (collaboration with Jordan Marani)


No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern, London, UK


Hell Is Other People, Inflight Gallery, Tasmania (collaboration with Jordan Marani)

Flippin Heck, Hell Gallery, Melbourne (collaboration with Jordan Marani)

Home Is Where My Hell Is, Switchback Gallery, Gippsland (collaboration with Jordan Marani)

Who Cut The Cheese? Two Giants of Contemporary Art Talk Frankly Of Monumental Things, Seventh Gallery, Melbourne (collaboration with Jordan Marani)


Hellraiser: The Directors Cut, Hell Gallery, Melbourne (collaboration with Jordan Marani)


This Is Not A Love Schlong, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne (collaboration with Jordan Marani)


The future is not what it used to be, The Kiosk – A Physics Room Public Art Site, NZ


Little Beasts, High Street Project, NZ


This Animal is Mischievous, High Street Project, NZ




Terminus, South by South West (SXSW) Festival, Austin, Texas, USA

Umwelt, online exhibition, Daily Rush, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, USA


I could sleep for a thousand years, curated by Jon Campbell, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney, Australia

Fractal Labyrinth, Occult Humanities Conference, New York University, NY, USA

Shenzen New Media Arts Festival, Shenzen, China

Psychedelic Healing Center, Essex Flowers, New York, NY, USA

Nanzuka Art Gallery Booth, Art Basel, Hong Kong


Gothic Beauty: Victorian notions of love, loss and spirituality, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia

Obsession: Devil in the Detail, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria, Australia

Charmed Contempoary: Works from the Collection, Wollongong Art Gallery, NSW

Darren Knight Gallery at Spring 1883, Windsor Hotel, Melbourne 1 – 4 August 2018

And Tomorrow And, Index, Stockholm, Sweden

The Public Body 03, Artspace, Sydney, Australia

Children of Mallarme – Fashion, Art and Collaboration, Tauranga Art Gallery, New Zealand

The Shape of Things to Come, Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne

Walters Prize, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand


Let’s Play: Let’s Play: Art of our time, Bunjil Place Gallery, Melbourne


Jess Johnson + Simon Ward4th Documentary Exhibition of Fine Arts/STRESS FIELD, Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China (forthcoming)

Darren Knight Gallery at Spring 1883, Room 55, The Establishment Hotel, Sydney

Drawing, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney

Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, Whol Wyl Wurld, The National: New Australian Art 2017, Carriageworks, Sydney

HB No 6, Centre Clark, Montreal, Canada


NADA Miami Beach, Jack Hanley Gallery, Miami,USA

MIKE, Curated by Todd von Ammon, Four AM Gallery, New York, USA

New World Order, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney

Tricking the eye – contemporary trompe l’oeil, Geelong Gallery, Victoria

SPRING 1883, Room 224, Hotel Windsor, Melbourne

Future Nature, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, USA

POP 01, Toronto International Film Festival, Canada


Hiding in Plain Sight: a selection of works from the Buxton Collection, Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia

Guirguis New Art Prize, Gallery of Ballarat and Post Office Gallery, Federation University

Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, curated by Lars Bang Larsen & Marco Pasi, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne


Spring 1883, Darren Knight Gallery, Suite 224, The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne

Don’t Hide The Hate, Slopes Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

2014 National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Victoria


Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Future Primitive, Heidi Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia

Wurm Whorl Narthex, in Populate!, Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand

Nocturne, Arts Project Australia, Melbourne, Australia

Gertrude Studios, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia


The Collector’s Edition, Death Be Kind Project Space, Melbourne Art Fair

Like, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

Bellowing Echoes, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne

Where There is Smoke There is Fire, Death Be Kind Gallery, Melbourne

The Edge of the Universe, Shepperton Art Gallery, Shepperton


Knowing You, Knowing Me: New Artists Show 2010, Artspace, Auckland, NZ

Hell’s Bottom Drawer, Hell Gallery, Melbourne


I Walk The Line: New Australian Drawing, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney


Jam, Peloton Gallery, Sydney

Honk If You Love Contemporary Art, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

Flux Capacitor, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne

Robert Jacks Drawing Prize, finalist, Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo

Dirty Popsicles, Peloton Gallery, Sydney

Informal Rituals, tcb Gallery, Melbourne


Cut n’ Paste, Peloton Gallery, Sydney 

Funny Ha Ha, The Narrows, Melbourne

Zonal Marx - A Drawing Project, VCA Gallery, Melbourne


Victims of Drawing Support Group, Victoria Park Gallery, Melbourne




Finalist - Walters Prize, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand


Recipient of a City of Yarra, Arts Development Grant

Winner, 2014 National Works on Paper, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery


The John McCaughey Memorial Prize, Acquisitive commission of Outer Head of the Order installation for National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne




Sensorium Machine, Gertrude Edition, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, Australia


Outer Head of the Order, acquisitive commission for Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne




Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, USA

McCahon House Residency, New Zealand


Bemis Center for Contemporary Art: Sci Fi and the Human Condition Thematic Residency, Omaha, Nebraska

Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Australian Council, Greene Street Studio Residency, New York


Residential studio residency, ARTSPACE, Sydney


Studio resident at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia


Asialink residency at Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan, 3 months          


Represented Death Be Kind Gallery at the Melbourne Art Fair


Participation in No Soul For Sale – a festival of 50 independent galleries, Tate Modern, London

Presenting Hell Gallery at the Melbourne Art Fair Project Spaces  / Showcasing the activities of Hell

Gallery as part of the exhibition Harrel Fletcher: The Sound We Make Together at the National Gallery of Victoria


Gippsland Centre for Art and Design (GCAD), residency and exhibition (Switchback Gallery), facilitated

by Monash University Museum of Art


Founder and co-director of Hell Gallery /



Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA Australia

Monash University Museum of Art, VIC Australia

Michael Buxton Collection, VIC Australia

National Gallery of Victoria, VIC Australia

Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand

Artbank, NSW Australia

James Wallace Arts Trust, New Zealand




Farr, K., Jess Johnson: Infinite Quest, Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine, Summer 2020

Butler, O., Artist Jess Johnson shares the arts and pop culture obsessions she’s loving right now, Fashion Quarterly, Summer Issue, 2020


Hurrell, John, Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, 50 Things / Curator’s Radar, Art Collector Magazine #87, Jan – March 2019


Bentley, Serena, Wurms Rule, the work of Jess Johnson, Bulletin, Summer 2018-19, Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand 2018.

Virtual Reality, Artlink, Issue 38:4, December 2018

Video Interview, Jess Johnson & Simon Ward, National Gallery of Australia, June 2018

Babington, Jaklyn, Terminus Artist Interview, National Gallery of Australia, May 2018

Christian, Dionne, Artists in residence: Where artists find their happy place, New Zealand Herald, May 2018

Fazel, Mahmood, Can VR Change the Way We Engage with Contemporary Art? Vice Magazine, May 2018

Gordan, Margaret, Surreal virtual reality show Terminus moves viewers to tears, Sydney Morning Herald, May 2018

Hills Duty, Rebecca, New surreal VR exhibit Terminus opens at National Gallery Australia, VR Focus, May 2018

Black, Michael, Tour the trippy world of virtual reality with Terminus at National Gallery, ABC News, May 2018

Gordan, Margaret, Mind bending virtual reality work opens at National Gallery, Fairfax Video, May 2018

Walters Prize nominees announced, New Zealand Herald, March 2018



Wyma, Chloe, Jess Johnson, ArtForum, November 2017

Caroline, Jessica; Interview, Caught In Eternal Digital Glitches, Filthy Dreams, October 2017

Smith, Andy, Jess Johnson’s Otherworldly Drawings, Hi Fructose, September 2017

Pellerin, Ananda, Whol Why Wurld, Nowness Editors Picks, September 2017

Where there are walls, Jess Johnson, Exhibition picks, September 2017

Everything not saved will be lost by Jess Johnson at Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, Blouin Art Info, September 2017

Editors, Hyperallergic’s horoscopes offer astrological advice for artists and art types, in art terms (Cancer), September 2017

Johnson, Paddy, A Season for Art, What should we do, September 2017

Art Viewer, Jess Johnson at Jack Hanley Gallery, September 2017

Jess Johnson Selects: Platform Games and Obstinate Monsters, Garage Mag, October 2017

Mandryk, Chloe, Interview, Jess Johnson: Hex Nemesis, Art Almanac, June 2017

Huxley, Will, Artist Profile, Art Makers, ABC Arts, May 2017

Laird, Tessa, Jess Johnson & Simon Ward, Carriageworks Catalogue, 2017



Gavin, Holly, Review, Jess Johnson brings together scifi and high technology with aplomb for her Talbot Rice solo show, The Skinny, September 2016

Thorpe, Harriet, Artist Profile, Jess Johnson: My work is a visual stew, Studio International, September 2016

Nunes, Andrew, Dune Meets Psychedelic VR in a New Immersive Art Experience, The Creators Project/Vice TV, August 2016

Art In Scotland TV, Jess Johnson and Simon Ward : Eclectrc Panoptic, July 2016

Szilak, Ilya, Artist Profile, Jess Johnson and the New Language of Virtual Reality, Huffington Post, July 2016

Frank, Priscilla, Sci-Fi Drawings Explore A World Beyond Reality and Today’s Technology, Huffington Post, May 2016

Pasture, Dylan, The gorgeous, unsettling worlds of Jess Johnson, Versions, April 2016

Mullally, Liam, Interview/Profile, Panoptical illusions, The Nouse, March 2016



Bentley, Serena, Exhibition Essay, Jess Johnson: Wurm Haus, NGV website, 2015

McNamara, T.J, Review, Impressive detail to dazzling forms, New Zealand Herald, December 2015

Ross, Annabel, Through the wormhole, Sydney Morning Herald, December 2015

Alber, Tom, Review, Oculus Rift Artwork or Out-Of-Body Experience? The Creator's Project/Vice Magazine, December 2015

Capp, Mem, Review, Artshub, December 2015

Hurrel, John, Jess Johnson Prints and Drawings, EyeContact, December 2015

Cox, Will; Review, Jess Johnson's Wurm Haus, Broadsheet Magazine, December 2015

Gallo, Rebecca, Nostalgic Computer Art From An Imaginary Post-Computer World, Vault Magazine, Issue 12 November 2015

Fehily, Toby, Jess Johnson, ArtGuide Australia, November 2015

Johnstone, Rose, Interview, Wurm Haus, Time Out Magazine, November 2015

Lang, Ben, Review, Ixian Gate is a Mind-bending VR Ride Through the World of Artist Jess Johnson, Road to VR, September 2015

Gordon, Margaret, Interview, Talking Oculus Rift Artwork with Jess Johnson & Simon Ward, The Creator's Project, Vice Magazine, July 2015



Laird, Tessa, Gnostic Influx: Jess Johnson Decodes Demonic Data, Art & Australia, Issue 52.1, 2014

McNamara, T.J, World of light and shadows, The New Zealand Herald, May 2014

Hurrel, J, Jess Johnson Drawings, EyeContact, May 2014

Anderson, Julia, Young New Zealander clinches John McCaughey Prize, Gallery Magazine, National Gallery of Victoria, Jan-Feb 2014 Issue

Ed. Melbourne Now, Artist Profile, Issue 25, 2013-14



McNamara, Andrew and Ann Stephen, Catalogue Essay, The Double Risk of Primitivism, Future Primitive exhibition catalogue, 2013

Barkley, Glenn, Chaos Reigns, Cat People, Issue 1, 2013

Murray, Phip; Artist Profile, Art Collector Magazine, Issue 67, 2013

Radio Interview with Odile Gotts, Tuesday Breakfast Show, 3CR Community Radio, December 2013

Mannan, Aniqa, Two Thousand Review, December 2013

Radio Interview with Vincent O’Donnell, Upbeat, Radio New Zealand, November 2013

Westwood, Matthew, It Takes a City, The Australian, November 2013

Helper, Roslyn, Primavera 2013, Concrete Playground Review, September 2013

Woodward, A, Primavera Posse, Art Collector, Issue 65, July-September 2013

Feeney, Warren, Christchurch Art Gallery 10th Anniversary, EyeContact, May 2013

Paton, Justin, Artist Talk Q&A, Christchurch Art Gallery website, May 2013

Cook, Robert, Jess Johnson Austerity Measures, Primavera 13 exhibition catalogue, 2013

Backhouse, M, Complexly Primitive, Art Guide, January/February 2013



Wark, Scott, Next Wave at Gertrude Contemporary, Realtime Magazine, Issue 109, June 2012



Pye, Harry, Interview, The Rebel Magazine (UK), November 2010

Hurrel, John, Infusing fresh blood, EyeContact, August 2010

Paton, J, Jess Johnson: Wurm Whorl Narthex, Bulletin B.172, Winter: May-August 2013, Christchurch Art Gallery

Loughnan, Melissa, Interview, Hell & Back, The Blackmail, April 2010

Television Feature, Hell Gallery, Art Nation ABC, May 2010

Television Feature, Hell Gallery, Stateline ABC, April 2010