Over the upcoming weeks artist Johanna Leech will be showing stories and collections in the PS2 cabinet. These will change every few weeks and will be documented on her website. This cabinet will allow you a glimpse into what her practice is, and to show work previously not seen in Belfast.
“I see my art practice as an adventure. I’m an explorer presenting my discoveries. I select and create imagery that draws in the viewer through the familiar and the commonplace. Stemming from a lifelong obsession with collecting, the subject matter combines influences from travel, social interactions, history, iconography, myths, legends and museum categorization.”
Diary entry, iphone photographs, rocks
Friday 15th July 2016
I’m standing on the rocks at the beach in Annalong, Northern Ireland. It’s one of those ‘not pretty’ stone beaches, stark in comparison to white gleaming sand beaches. It’s windy, making the waves loud, and 8pm so they are returning to the coast. It’s overcast but the wind is warm against my cheeks like a hug or a ghostly hand. I bend down to touch the water in the rock pool, it’s also warm, tempting me to dip my feet in.
The mountains are behind me, The Mourne Mountains (who famously ‘sweep down to the sea’) they are surrounded by menacing black clouds which are moving towards me. I climb on to the large slabs of stone to get closer to the sea. I turn to face the rocks, towards the land. The stone slabs are like layers in a cake slanting away from the water, the waves have cut into them over time. They are covered in scrapes from the smaller stones that have been brushed against them with the force of the waves. I run my finger over their grooves imagining what made them. These rock slabs look like their own landscapes, their own mountains. Dramatic ranges, to subtle slopes. Transporting me to Everest or The Rocky Mountains. I start to photograph them, framing these new landscapes in my view finder. Areas with moss and water become tropical places. Others mirror the Mourne Mountains above them.
The sea is getting closer and I’m drawn to it, turning around. I stand as close as I can to feel its pull, to feel the draw back before the wave crashes in. I stand and watch it for a time, zoning out. I imagine how it would feel for my body to get sucked out with it, strangely peaceful. I want to go for a swim, to float off with it. But I’m stuck here, on the rocks, me and my new mountains. The wind is picking up, but still oddly warm, that moment before a storm, The Mournes have been swallowed by the dark clouds. I’ve only my new mountains at my feet now. So I withdraw out of the mist, back inside.
PS2 – Paragon Studios – www.pssquared.org