Michael Johnson was born in Sydney in 1938. In 1960, following the completion of his studies in Sydney at the Julian Ashton Art School and the National Art School, Johnson travelled to London where he painted full-time as well as working as studio assistant for British sculptors Brian Wall and Anthony Caro. On his return to Sydney in 1967, Johnson had his first solo exhibitions at Gallery A and was included in the seminal exhibition The Field at the National Gallery of Victoria in the following year. Between 1969-1975 he was based in New York.

Michael Johnson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, and included in the UNESCOBiennale, France (1968); the São Paulo Bienal, Brazil (1969); and The Australian Biennale, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1988). Among Johnson’s awards and commissions are the Wynne Prize (2014), and large commissioned paintings for the Sydney Conference Centre (1989), Angel Place, Sydney (2000) and the State Bank of New South Wales, Sydney. He is represented in all major Australian state and regional collections, New Zealand’s Chartwell Collection, and in numerous significant corporate and private collections in Australia and overseas. Beagle Press published a substantial monograph on Michael Johnson’s work in 2004.