CURRENT ISSUE | FALL 2014
SPECIAL ISSUE: 30 YEARS
Must-Sees

Sarah Anne Johnson: Alien Arctics

The Winnipeg artist Sarah Anne Johnson has built a wide reputation as a photographer of note ever since her images of tree planters first came to attention in 2003. But Johnson has always done more than just take straightforward photographs. Her Tree Planting Project featured photos of meticulously sculpted scenes, as did The Galapagos Project, while her House on Fire installation included several individual bronzes and drawings as well. Johnson’s is a practice where travel adventures and remembered dramas link to enter a special realm of personal documentary. The same effect holds true in Arctic Wonderland, her newest series. The images were shot during a trip to the Arctic Circle in Norway and Johnson has added new elements through Photoshop, painting, embossing and other print techniques. These new elements focus the images’ meaning into a celebration of the north shadowed by visions of its vulnerability. Several images feature abstract architectures added to the landscape. Akin to Étienne-Louis Boullée’s revolutionary 18th-century architecture, Johnson’s structures summon up a utopian purity that can mirror some of the fierce planning models for the contemporary north, models where a landscape becomes a conflicted entry point into science fiction.