Mary A. Johnson


My work explores labyrinthic structures between the real and fantasy through the lens of the ambiguous space between seduction and disgust.  I don’t attempt to pretend my work is the real- I carefully construct facades and masks to confuse the viewer.  The faux, the fake, the “doctoring”, the embellishment are all key players in this space. Things hide, they peek out, they transform and morph.

The pull between the polarities fascinates me because of how close one can come to the other and still exist as itself. When it comes down to it, there is little difference between the two; yet also a world of it. They affirm one another, they negate one another. True horror can exist in this tense, and sometimes sublime, space.

I use food as a primary medium to connect to the viewers’ corporeality in my drawings and performances. It’s ability to be at once both sensual and revolting is a direct result of its connection to the mouth, the stomach, and the mind. This physicality makes it an ideal conduit to discuss the overlaps, muddles and gaps between seduction and disgust; the perceived and the fantastical.