The Bite Magazine - Autmn/Winter 2020 - Issue 28

Sarah Anne Johnson: Woodland Artist Exhibition Jada Brookes gets a sense of nature through Canadian artist Sarah Anne Johnson’s photography of trees captured in her Woodland exhibition at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York. biteartistprofile N ature and idealism serve as the mainstay of Canadian mul- timedia artist Sarah Anne Johnson’s work. The artist born in 1976 in Winnipeg, the capital of the Canadian province of Manitoba, earned a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from the University of Manitoba in 2002 and an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) from the Yale University School of Art in 2004. Her first major work was called ‘Tree Planting’ (2002-05), a collection of images taken when the artist spent a summer on a reforestation project in northern Canada. She described this episode as the search for a sublime experience and possible utopia through the act of hard labour in the great outdoors. “I mixed straight photography of tree planters, working and living in North- ern Manitoba, with dioramas and handmade figures that represented the same subject. Mixing the two together created a question about fact and fiction because some of the straight photos were staged. I would ask peo- ple to stand in certain places and direct the gaze, for example.” ’The Galapagos Project’ followed in 2005, which captured her experience in socially and environmentally responsible tourism. “I decided to travel to a place that was advertised as a paradise and partake in a type of volun- teer vacation,” she told NGC Magazine . “It was agricultural work, mostly consisting of using a machete to cut out invasive plant species, which had been brought to the island over the past 100 years by well-intentioned people who had no idea of the environmental havoc it would create.” For this body of work, she continued with the same idea of photograph- ing dioramas and taking explicit images, but also made some paintings and sculpture. "I turned to other mediums because I felt photography was too limiting to express and describe the experience fully. For example, I