Pretty Dark Things: Katsy Johnson

Thursday, Nov 29 – Dec 30, 2018

1310-1/2B Chicago Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201

Free and open to the public

Opening Reception:Saturday, December 1, 5-7 p.m.

Conversation with the Artists: Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m.

In 2016, Katsy Johnson encountered a delightful, little blue boat that had washed up on a picture-perfect beach in the Florida Keys. She later came to find out that the boat, packed with 20 Cuban refugees, had almost capsized during a storm at sea. The survivors narrowly escaped death, thanks to a last-minute rescue by the Coast Guard, which abandoned the sinking vessel to the Atlantic Ocean.

This story sparked Johnson into venturing on to other beautiful settings with somber backstories. In her series “Pretty Dark Things,” she chose not to relate the scenarios as documentaries. Instead, she has developed a multimedia process of hand coloring her photographs and using layers of acrylic to conjure up bucolic scenes that have the effect of looking like vintage reverse glass paintings.

Through this process, Johnson has taken situations involving fleeing refugees, environmental dangers, mental illness and poverty, and transformed them into best supporting actors to the staid, but beautiful backgrounds in which they were photographed.

Katsy Johnson's photo-based art can be viewed at