Stella Johnson

Al Sol

October 7 - 31, 2010

Stella Johnson's black-and-white series, "Al Sol," was born out of the artist's innate desire to become a photographer. With a camera in hand, restlessness and curiosity brought her far from home to locations in Mexico, Cameroon, and Nicaragua, places reminiscent of her own family's heritage. Once there, she found herself taking the time to get close to people, becoming familiar with the structure of each community and the rhythms of daily life.

"Villages found down dusty roads, difficult to reach physically, and, once there, difficult to enter and fully understand. Living off the land, daily tasks take over, from hauling water from the well to collecting firewood. There is no flick of the switch. In my work, I literally move into people's homes and into their lives. I am interested in watching and listening for the mood and emotion of village life. I photograph those daily moments we would forget to tell our grandchildren. My Greek grandmothers were raised in villages like these. These are my roots, they drive my work, and in making these photographs I am 'at home'."

Johnson will present a gallery talk about "Al Sol" during Blue Sky's Birthday Open House at 1:35 PM on Saturday, October 9.

Stella Johnson was educated at the San Francisco Art Institute and Boston University, and currently teaches at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, Boston University, and the Maine Media Workshops. Johnson received her first Fulbright Scholarship to Mexico in 2003-2004, and returned in 2006 as a Fulbright Senior Specialist, teaching at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Cuernavaca. Her work is in numerous private and public collections, including the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography. Johnson's recent awards include the Julia Margaret Cameron Award (Runner-Up, 2011), Lens Culture International Exposure Award (2nd Place, 2010), and Photolucida's Critical Mass Top 50 (2006). Al Sol: Photographs from Mexico, Cameroon, and Nicaragua was published by the University of Maine Press in 2008.