Deep Waters

I make art with water. The series, Deep Waters, features my hands-on mono-print making process that integrates my decade long artistic practice with the watersheds of the Upper Midwest. This series of thirteen Water Prints evolved with, in, on, and alongside the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. I bring my photographs with their embedded river stories to open-air studios where the water and nature’s tools on hand mark, draw on, stain, paint, and infuse the prints. These art-making places are presently at the two rivers’ confluence, a farm culvert stream choked with runoff commodity farm sediment, the headwaters, a basically pristine trout stream, and a spot where a haz-mat suit was required to work with my hands and feet in the Mississippi River.

Deep Waters
Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters As I was framing this portrait the off gassing toxins allowed only a few photos to be taken before I was gagging and scrambling away. It took the good part of an hour to get the poison taste out of my mouth. It is gut wrenching at times to take in directly the crimes against nature that are just business as usual.
Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters Can’t you smell it? Our home is on fire.

Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters MILK and TAR do not play well together.
Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters I saw da Vinci. In a piece of Styrofoam no less. Specifically, his notebooks. The print is turning into a shroud.

Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters The taking of this photograph, in negative degree weather not including wind chill, necessitated the institution of the above 10 degrees rule for taking photos outside. Despite that, the original photo triggers thoughts of global warming.
Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters I placed and scattered fall leaves on this print for three days. I did not peak. The reveal was sublime. Some of that still lingers in the print when you hold it in your hands.

Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters The water often shows me how to weave marks into and expand the intention of the original photograph. Here leaves were emblazoned soaking overnight. Berries splattered from above. Stems became brushes. My dross landscape cross-section sperm was invaded…it needed it.
Peter L. Johnson Deep Waters How do I fall in love with the river that is so abused and limited by our ways? I spend time with the water making art and in silence and walking along its shores with my dog.

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