The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our second exhibition by Sarah Anne Johnson entitled "The Galapagos Project". Johnson continues to explore her interest in a utopian relationship between individuals and their environment and the impossibility of that. The exhibition will include more than sixty photographs, both straight and constructed, color and black and white as well as two sculptural works expanding on the figures which she has crafted from Sculpey to habitate her tableaux photographs. Recognizing the disparity between our notions of the Galapagos as a enduring Eden and the actuality of poverty and struggle there, Johnson made two trips to the Islands as part of an agricultural rehabilitation mission; living and working there for five weeks with a crew looking to rejuvenate both the land and their lives through volunteer labor. With little reference outside the abstract mythology surrounding the islands, she again pieced together a pictorial narrative as in the "Tree Planting" project- creating a series of dichotomies in her signature mix of photographs of straight documentary style shots with playfully constructed tableaux made from small sculptures which she creates.
"In the intersection between actuality and abstraction, Johnson smoothes the seams of her photographic patchwork- borrowing equal parts of the medium's documentary history and malleable future to construct a personalized vision of the Galapagos. Unlike Thomas Demand or James Casebere, Johnson cobbles a humble kaleidoscope of moments, places, and people from everyday materials that imbue her vision with a sense of ...warmth." (Matijcio)
Johnson's first exhibition "Tree Planting" in 2005 was heralded by Roberta Smith in The New York Times as "an outstanding start" praising her "affecting bluntness." The show was widely praised in the press by critics including Rick Woodward, Vince Aletti, Martha Schwendener, and Mia Fineman, among others. The entire installation was acquired by the Guggenheim Museum, and will travel this summer to the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne as part of a survey loan show from the Guggenheim. Her work was also featured in J'en reve, at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, Real Art Ways in Hartford and at Duke University, and is in the collections of Yale University, the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Winnipeg Art Museum.
Johnson received an MFA from Yale University in 2004, where she now teaches, and she also lives in her native town of Winnipeg where she received her BFA in 2002
The Galapagos Project was previously shown at Plug In, Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, a non profit space, with a somewhat different configuration, with the title Either Side of Eden. An essay by curator Steven Matijcio of the same title is available on our website or by calling the gallery.