Australian painter Helen Johnson is known for her large-scale, figurative works that critically reflect upon the colonial foundations of non-Indigenous Australia and are often realised as double-sided, unstretched canvases. More recently, Johnson has used the medium of painting to explore ideas around woman- and motherhood. Almost at the Surface is a reproduction of the visual journal that Johnson began in 2018 as an assignment for her art therapy studies, while pregnant with her daughter Leah. Its pencil and oil pastel figurative and abstract drawings and text annotations explore the artist’s ‘feelings around pregnancy – love, anxiety, abstraction, transformation, connection – and my changing body.’ Completed several months after the birth of her daughter, the journal vividly records Johnson’s impressions of this time and is published together with a short text by writer and psychoanalyst Kate Briggs.
200 pages, 14.7 x 23 cm, softcover, Monash University Museum of Art x Negative Press (Melbourne).