In the wake of Greenland’s unprecedented surface melt, Sarah Anne Johnson’s eerie Arctic Wonderland series reminds us of the stunning boreal landscape that is quite literally drifting away. After a residency around the Arctic Circle, Johnson digitally and manually altered her photographs to create a surreal wonderland childishly spoiled by humans.
Here, painted black clouds hover above a single rowboat, a man’s footprint creates a gigantic ripple in the water, and colorful fireworks light up an otherwise stark glacier. At every turn, mankind disturbs a postcard perfect image, but it’s not melodramatic or evil, it’s subtly sad and innocent, like a toddler taking crayons to a freshly painted white wall.
In her photographs and sculptures, she explores themes of idealism and nature. Johnson’s MFA thesis project documented her work in Canada planting trees as a means of income. In the series, she inserts mannequins into Ontario’s farmland, again harkening back to the man vs. nature theme. She has been involved in various ecological projects in the Galapagos Islands and Ontario.