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Bubble, 2011

Sarah Anne Johnson
Canadian, 1976
chromogenic print, silkscreen printed, embossed
45.8 x 65.9 cm; image: 40.8 x 60.9 cm
Purchased 2011
National Gallery of Canada (no. 2011.64)

In 2009 Sarah Anne Johnson sailed on a Norwegian schooner to the international territory of Svalbard as a participant in The Arctic Circle Program. Capturing the area's sublime qualities in her photographs, she also documented her fellow travellers, their ship, and the abandoned architectural sites they happened upon. Their surrealistic appearance in the landscape – simultaneously strong and pristine yet delicate and fleeting – prompted the artist to explore different post-production techniques such as painting with photospotting inks or etching directly into the paper. Whimsical yet disquieting, each image is laced with a sense of anxiety that attests to the Arctic's status as a barometer of the planet's failing health. Johnson views this series as a meditation on actions and consequences, and ultimately, on the weight of progress, growth and innovation.

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