Under the Surface

Writers at Woody Point (2018)
Poster/Featured Artist

These works explore the world under the surface of Bonne Bay in Gros Morne National Park. They examine what is below the surface, what is above, and the interconnectedness of each space.

I spend a lot of time near the ocean - mostly at its edge, but increasingly on its surface in boats. I think a lot about what is under the water’s surface. Real and imagined things. Beautiful, delicate, powerful, mysterious things that we often don’t see or understand. I see it as a magical place.

Everything is interconnected and alive with energy. Light bounces off and penetrates the surface. The stars are reflected, but I imagine that their energy passes through the surface to create the magic that is phosphorescence. The moon pulls the tides and the tides pull the plants, which have adapted to hold on and survive.

The ocean has strength and power, however its vulnerability cannot be ignored. We continue to overfish and use it as a dumping ground, ultimately harming ourselves and our economic stability. A dory is a common element in the paintings, representing the ways humans rely on the ocean’s resources economically and socially, both in the past and the present. The dory also speaks to the idea that we are able to rest on the surface of things without realizing or understanding what’s happening just beyond our view.

Thanks to The Once for letting me use their song lyrics as titles for some of these pieces. 

Thanks also to ArtsNL for their financial support of this project.

© 2020 by Alli Johnston

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