Canadian artist Sarah Anne Johnson’s work has always explored the dichotomy between reality and perception. Her latest project Wonderlust continues the pattern of synthesizing real world images with subtle or aggressive alterations in the studio to achieve an ethereal effect. Departing from depictions of the cold, vast landscapes of Arctic Wonderland, her previous series, she now ventures into the warm, cozy bedrooms of couples, to “explore the internal world of sexual intimacy” to show what it looks and feels like. These images convey the wide range of physical and emotional experiences of sex, vividly depicting feelings such as romantic desire, ecstasy, emotional connection, or the lack of desire, boredom, self-doubt, and personal disappointment. Although the subjects are complete strangers, each photograph reveals a deeply personal moment, portraying each person as a complex, seemingly contrasting blend of feelings, of bold bashfulness, aggressive vulnerability, elated despair, that somehow seems to all fit together in this intensely human celebration of life.
In characteristic form, Johnson has conceived of this as a self contained project, as in Tree Planting, first shown here in 2005, The Galapagos Project, House on Fire and most recently Arctic Wonderland. Johnson received her MFA from Yale University and a BFA from University of Manitoba. Her work is featured in numerous public collections including the Guggenheim Museum, NY, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, each of which has extensive holdings of her work. She was prominently featured in the Oh, Canada show at Mass MOCA which is now traveling throughout Canada and was the featured artist in the Toronto Art Fair this past fall. She has also received recent commissions from Louis Vuitton, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Bank of Montreal.