"Johnson's paintings since 1982 have combined the influences of Aboriginal art with those of Eastern painting, in particular Buddhist art from China, Japan and Tibet. More recently, he has explored the influences of Native American culture. In charting a personalised map which cross-references these cultures, noting affinities and differences between them and the western culture of which he is a part, Johnson has developed his own definable painting style that carries within it a complex and open synthesis of possibilities. The many mediums in which he has worked as a conceptual artists, Johnson felt during the 1970s that the possibilities for modernist painting had come to an end. He has found a way forward by looking beyond western traditions and belief systems for his art.
'Using principles of abstraction as I learn them from Western art history and Aboriginal art, I am painting a desert landscape as it was revealed to me at Papunya...I am constructing images of the desert with both Aboriginal and Buddhist presence. The whole is a metaphor for city living as it can be loaded and overloaded with signs and meanings.'" (S. Cramer, Ilusory Worlds - Tim Johnson, Documenta IX, Kassell, Germany, 1992, p. 7)