The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce Sarah Anne Johnson's first solo exhibition entitled Tree Planting. Johnson is a recent graduate of Yale University's MFA program in photography and is a native of Canada where she received a BFA from the University of Manitoba.
Planting trees in Manitoba is a rite of passage for many young adults in Canada. Johnson has participated in this activity and has made it the subject of this project in which she combines photographs she has shot during the course of her summer sojourns, and sculptural figures and groups in constructed tableaux which are built later. The result is a fusing of the immediate images captured while in the moment with constructed images derived from memory and photographic record. She feels that these two ways of picture-making depend on each other to flesh out the entire event and strengthen the aesthetic suspension of disbelief in the viewer.
The sixty odd prints in the installation are carefully but informally grouped in a variety of sizes. The gallery walls have been transformed to create the effect of a diorama. They are funny, sentimental, grungy and sometimes achingly beautiful. For Johnson this work addresses many issues. She admits to having a "quiet political agenda: our society sorely needs to be awakened to the kind of empowering emotion that can be born in good old-fashioned hard work devoted to an important cause." She is also interested in notions of utopia and the balance between community and nature.