IN KEEPING WITH MYSELF
Olivia Johnston is a lens-based artist living and working in Ottawa. She uses a variety of photographic strategies to explore questions about the photographic image, portraiture and art history; the self, the body and illness; and photography’s relationship with memory. Her art examines social issues, practices of representation, and the boundaries and biases within her own and others’ belief systems.
Johnston has crafted her Invalid series as a virtual installation to explore her life struggles within visible and barely visible chronic illnesses. Each image has been captured using a digital camera from the early 2000s, as a means of showing the skewed vision of someone who is constantly struggling against the limits of their mind and body. The series serves to document the meandering path of chronic mental and physical illnesses. These images represent a holistic approach to healing, a visual response to moments of difficulty or moments of joy. With these images, Johnston asks herself and her viewers: What constitutes the self, if mind and body are in turmoil? If mind and body are in turmoil, where can a safe space be found?