Howard Park Institute
2088 Dundas St. W.
“Jodie-Monkey planet of the apes movie
Monday May 11, 2009 to Sunday May 31, 200
Coinciding with the opening of the Contact Toronto Photography Festival, OCAD Faculty Rae Johnson has a new photo-based painting on exhibition at the Howard Park Institute window gallery.
This is a painted digital print. The image was created using adobe photo shop. The source images were digital photographs from Rae’s television screen. The human image is of Jodie Foster in the film Contact. The film is about a dimension machine whose engineering was sent to Earth from light years away in space, via signals picked up by the SETI (search extra terrestrial intelligence) program of the seventies in the USA.
Coming of age at the beginning of the 1980’s, having studied at the leading edge Art Schools of the era. Rae Johnson has and continues to think in interdisciplinary terms. She considers herself a conceptual artist that primarily paints.
“The Jodie Foster character represents metaphorically the Cassandra myth, in which the heroine knows all but is cursed by never being believed. In the film Jodie Foster’s character “comes back”, after encountering the edges of the universe, and being reunited with her deceased father. Her experience is discounted by the authoritarian politicians and scientists and theologians in the film, and she is not believed. The viewer is given evidence in the story, that her experiences were true, sharing in the curse of knowing but not being believed. The monkey is taken from a Robert Attenbourgh documentary about primates. The monkey is our closest “animal” relative on the planet, and is often symbolized in art as a lesser human, or as our instinctual side. So in fusing these images I have endeavored to set into motion an unconscious response in the viewer – to contemplate our relationship to our primal animal nature, and our futuristic state where traveling into space has become a part of our experience as 21st Century human primates. Ideas of evolution, extinction, and the human factor in all of it are embedded in the image.”
“I looked at artists like Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland and General Idea as models for contemporary art practice. They are Canadian examples of how an artist’s investigation may need to be pursued in more than one medium. This has become standard practice really. When I began teaching at OCA in 1987, I was cross- appointed to Experimental Art and Fine Art. In my painting classes that have ranged from landscape to figure painting and observational drawing to digital painting, I have always included contemporaneous examples from other media – film, animation, sculpture and video – and tried to provide an historical context when discussing work. I stress the fact that how we consider Visual Art is under constant revision. I challenge my students to see the moment they are in and start from there, and to consider their own efforts as being a part of the history of human expression from the Neolithic to the current Digital Age.”