St John's College Oxford
Dr Jennifer Johnson

Dr Jennifer Johnson

Junior Research Fellow in History of Art


Since my D.Phil, I have been a Visiting Lecturer in the History of Art Department and college tutor at Christ Church, a Visiting Tutor in Modern Art and Theory at the Ruskin School of Art, and a lecturer in English Literature and Literary Theory at Brasenose.

Research Interests

My research concerns the construction of meaning in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century painting, with particular interests in the notion of materiality; materiality and theatricality; reconsidering the concept of narrative in visual art; and painting as critical, philosophic and theological investigation.

I am currently completing my first book, which uses the painting and writings of the artist Georges Rouault as an interlocutor for these questions. I am also interested in examining the usefulness of various paradigms drawn from literary theory (particularly from Bakhtin, de Man, Genettte, and Derrida) to the examination of painterly surfaces.

As a JRF, I am beginning work on a new research project tentatively titled ‘Monstrosity and Anti-Heroism’, which will reconsider the ‘primitive’ and the influence of theatre on avant-garde art in Paris (1880-1960) in relation to the work and legacy of Alfred Jarry.