This photograph of Sarah Anne Johnson’s grandmother is part of the “House on Fire” exhibit.which consists of a series of sculptures and altered photos reflecting her grandmother’s state of mind as she thought she was descending into madness.I think I want to do the editing myself, too, which means that’s something I’ll have to learn.

“Sarah is not about pristine finishes or making anything look mechanical or manmade.

There’s tactility, handmade qualities, mistakes and triumphs all collected into one piece. That human imprint is very true of all of her work.”Johnson will return to CAM March 19-21 to perform “Dancing With the Doctor” live with three other dancers – a physical re-enactment of some of the themes from “House on Fire.” She has other projects in the works, too, including a giant mural in Toronto and a photo exhibit based on pictures she’s taken at music festivals over the years.

People do say they thought it’d be ‘sexier.’ But intimacy is not necessarily sexy.

Generally, when men make work about this, it tends to be about the sex and it’s all surface, glossy, shiny, well-lit.

“I think she’d be proud of that.”“House on Fire” is weighty enough that it would more than stand on its own.

But it’s only one of eight installations in “Wonderland,” an ambitious mid-career retrospective of Johnson’s 12-year body of work.

As Johnson would come to learn, there was a good reason for that. The program included mind-altering psychedelic drugs, sensory deprivation and other forms of psychological torture.

Two decades earlier, her grandmother had sought treatment for postpartum depression – and had become an unwitting participant in Project MKUltra, a series of grievously unethical mind-control experiments done at the behest of the U. This did not come to light until The New York Times broke the story in 1977, a year after Johnson was born.

(One of the Arctic photos appeared in an earlier CAM show, 2013’s “Currents”).

The darker work is downstairs, especially “House on Fire.” That’s also where you’ll find “Wonderlust,” a series of sexually intimate photos and sculptures radically altered by the artist. I wanted to make something risky and hard to talk about.

Not surprisingly, most of the show’s other works are in the shadow of “House on Fire” – or were done in response to it.“What happened to my grandmother is something I’ll continue coming back to every few years,” Johnson said. After I’d spent two-and-a-half years on it, I needed an adventure to focus on rather than myself. I’m always telling my students that artists need to put ourselves at risk, be vulnerable, talk about taboos.