Martin Johnson was born in New Jersey in 1951 and currently resides in Richmond, Virginia. He received his BA in Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1974 and his MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1977.
Gaining recognition throughout the mid-Atlantic region, Johnson secured one of the first residencies at PS1 (MoMA PS1). During this time, curator Marcia Tucker and gallery owner Phyllis Kind championed Johnson's work. With critical attention from art historian and art critic Donald Kuspit, Johnson captivated private art collectors the Rubells and the Vogels. With Dorothy and Herbert Vogel's Fifty Works for Fifty States, thirty-six museums acquired Johnson's work. Moreover, the March 2013 film Herb and Dorothy 50x50 showcases Johnson's creative impetus.
Johnson's recent solo exhibitions include FOR / REAL: Martin Johnson (2017) at Linda Matney Gallery in Williamsburg, Virginia; FOR Instance: The Art of Martin Johnson (2013) at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia; and Martin Johnson: FORward at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. His notable group shows include Textural Structures: Selected Works from the South Dakota Art Museum (2011) in Brookings, South Dakota; An Economy of Means: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection (2010) at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Un/Common Ground: Virginia Artists (1990) at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia.