Photo Credit: Laurel Johannesson

Photo Credit: Laurel Johannesson

Herringer Kiss Gallery / Calgary

Laurel Johannesson

An ongoing interest in temporality has led Laurel to explore the concept of oblivion or forgetfulness. In Greek mythology Lethe was one of the five rivers of the underworld. Also known as the river of unmindfulness, the Lethe flowed around the cave of Hypnos and through the underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced forgetfulness.

In Laurel’s most recent work, she has moved from underwater to above water to depict the expanse of the sea in relationship to land or horizon, and human or bird. The underlying theme is that of instances of being in a state of precarious limbo. Laurel refers to her human and avian subjects as The Oblivion Seekers and they are frequently depicted between freedom (flight) and safety (land) with the turbulent sea the uncertain suspension that they must navigate between the two. They occupy a kind of limbo space. It is this in-between space of protracted temporality that Laurel is interested in revealing.

She also uses light to convey a sense of duration of time or perhaps timelessness. In some of the images and video, the time of day is unidentifiable …fluctuating between sunlight and moonlight …stars in the sky and sun on the waves. Spatial references are also manipulated ...with sky becoming sea ...and sea becoming sky. The Oblivion Seekers are searching for a space where time is suspended, where they can hover in limbo, and temporarily push memory and knowing into oblivion.