Erin Johnson Appointed a 2018 Biennal Artist at Portland Museum of Art

Erin Johnson

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Erin Johnson will be making her debut at the Portland Museum of Art next year as one of the PMA’s 2018 Biennal artists. Johnson is among twenty-five artists who will be exhibiting at the PMA from January 26 through May 30, 2017, as part of the event.

“I’m honored to be chosen for the Biennal,” said Johnson, whose most recent work, Lawrence, will be on display. “Lawrence is a video piece in which local extras from the 1983 made-for-TV movie The Day After—which depicted the effects of nuclear attack on the town of Lawrence, Kansas—recollect their original scenes now, thirty-four years later. The result is documentation of the real lived experiences of a town that once performed its own fictional destruction.”

Lawrence will also be featured in a solo exhibition of Johnson’s at Power Plant Gallery, Duke University, North Carolina, starting December 12, 2017, through February 17, 2018.

“Utilizing both historical and fictional narratives, my video, sound, and social practice works blur the lines between rehearsal and performance, real and imagined landscapes and borders, and perception, memory, and interpretation,” said Johnson. “These research-driven artworks evidence a fundamental situationality, shape­shifting depending on the collaborator, topic, and resources at hand.”

Independent curator Nat May and his team are putting together the PMA Biennal, choosing artists that they felt would complement each other while also reflecting Maine’s increasingly diverse community. Quoted on the PMA website, May said, “We wanted to use the opportunity of the Biennial to focus on artists who hadn’t previously participated in PMA Biennials or other programming at this institution.” Museum director Mark Bessire said, “[T]his Biennial will display the incredible array of perspectives and breadth of talent right here in Maine.”

Watch a clip from Erin Johnson’s Lawrence

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