Through image and form across a variety of media, tactics and disciplines, Andrew Ellis Johnson explores social and political issues and injustices, wrestling with boundaries between aesthetic, political and moral orders. He treats representation — not as a hermetic mimetic pictorial tradition —but as an agency to awaken and combat torpor. Exhibition topics have included: the Haitian grass roots movement; homelessness; predatory economics; hemispheric hegemonies; unabated sowing of land mines; crises in the Middle East; cultural eclipses; the visibility and invisibility of communication; consequences of war and violence; and meditations on labor and myth. Venues for his work have included museums, galleries, electronic arts and video festivals, public collaborations, conferences, books and journals in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“Somewhere Over the Border” examines the state of statelessness that defines ‘refugee.’ Refugees are not born but created out of dire circumstances typically resulting from systemic exploitation, economic destitution, and the upheavals of war and famine. The displaced are frequently portrayed as stripped of culture, connection, profession and the ability to care for each other or themselves. These works depict migrants in their strength-possessing a past and dreaming a future.