Julie Saul Gallery
New York, NY
May to June, 2018
“Like the goddess of daybreak in Homer’s Odyssey, Sarah Anne Johnson’s new landscapes recur with beauty and wonder, in a multitude of guises. In her eighth solo show at this gallery, she is taking a more general approach, not limiting herself to a specific place or distinct history. She’s focusing on photographic tropes- landscape scenes from a variety of places that depict sublime natural beauty. But as always, the artist is concerned with the loop between photographic object and “reality.” She poses serious questions, and answers with seductive playfulness. Once again she is trying to bridge that space through the psychology of place, and the dividing line between what is real and what is felt- a quality that remains a balancing act in all of her projects.
Johnson has added materials that undermine the seriousness of these scenes, and with humor she mocks our traditional sense of beauty and high art. Relief elements such as cotton balls artificial flowers and heavily applied epoxy, holographic tape, the use of photoshop and spray paint, all of these interventions gently push us to question our complicated relationship to nature and photography. How are photographs connected to reality, and how is that connection changing? How can we idealize nature with the knowledge of our globally threatened environment?
Instead of trying to harmoniously fuse the real and ideal, she plays with their parallel lives by forcing together contradictions- high and low, two and three D, sincerity and mockery. She provokes delight and suspicion. The emotional push and pull implicates the viewer in contrast to the distance of cool criticality.”
For a full press release, click here.
The toxic legacy of Canada’s CIA brainwashing experiments: ‘They strip you of your soul’
By Ashifa Kassam
May 3, 2018
“In the 1950s and 60s, a Montreal hospital subjected psychiatric patients to electroshocks, drug-induced sleep and huge doses of LSD. Families are still grappling with the effects
Sarah Anne Johnson had always known the broad strokes of her maternal grandmother’s story. In 1956, Velma Orlikow checked herself into a renowned Canadian psychiatric hospital, the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, hoping for help with postpartum depression.
She was in and out of the clinic for three years, but instead of improving, her condition deteriorated – and her personality underwent jarring changes.
More than two decades passed before Johnson and her family had an explanation, and it was much stranger than any of them could imagine: in 1977 it emerged that the CIA had been funding experiments in mind-control brainwashing at the institute as part of a North America-wide project known as MK Ultra.”
For a full article, click here.
MUSÉE: VANGUARD OF PHOTOGRAPHY CULTURE
Exhibition Review: Rosy Fingered Dawn
By Ilana Jael
May 9, 2018
“Sarah Anne Johnson’s current exhibition at Julie Saul Gallery, Rosy Fingered Dawn, is her eighth to be shown there, and it is obvious that the artist feels right at home. In fact, she was so comfortable that she felt free to turn the whole space into her installation. The pastel colors we see in her photographs seem to bleed out like watercolor paints onto the heretofore white gallery walls, viscerally immersing us in her strange, serene vision. And this is just the beginning of Johnson’s challenging of the boundaries between photography and reality, between the world as it is versus as presented and perceived.”
For a full article, click here.