Plan A (There is no Plan B)

Johannah’s most recent mosaic series celebrates the beauty of the natural world, continuing a theme from the earlier Nature and Endangered Flowers series.

We are thrilled to be showing these three mosaics among  a selection of Johannah’s work at Gallery at 23 for the month of April. Located just across the street from the Maggie Walker statue on Broad St. in Richmond, this gallery features artwork exhibitions by new and established Virginia artists.  “Take Care” features Johannah’s mosaic artwork about environmental and social justice .

Join us for the First Fridays opening in the Broad St. Arts District on Friday April 5, 5 pm to 9 pm. We’d love to see you there!

Each of the mosaics in this series is inspired by the sense of awe I feel looking out at our world, at the waters, mountains, and forests on this beautiful and singular planet we get to call home. And that’s just it, it’s the only one on which we know we can survive and thrive. If we continue to mess it up as we have been, if we don’t clean it up so it can continue to be a viable, healthy place for plants and animals to live, there is no plan B. (Or as I’ve seen on signs at environmental demonstrations, “No Planet B.”) So I see these works as a celebration of our world, and a call to reawaken our connection to our home.

The first piece I completed in this series is “River Journey.” This piece is comprised of several lengths of blue and green mosaic laid out side by side. “River Journey” is inspired by the James River, the river we love running through the center of the city we live in. Drinkable water represents a tiny portion of water on earth, yet much of that water is poisoned by human activity. The panels in this piece represents the legs of the human journey in our relationship with water. As we travel this journey, the health and quantity of the water and the landscape around us may change, and different periods of crisis or improvement may last for different lengths. We don’t know in advance how many different legs this legs journey will encounter, but like a river, history carries us ever onward.

“In the Mountain’s Shadow” was the second piece in this series. This one consists of a rugged mountain silhouette in white with black shadows below and a tiny moon and stars above. “Mountain’s Shadow” was inspired by rocky mountain ranges like the Himalayas of south Asia and the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, so different from our own ancient and softly rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. This piece is meant to represent those dark periods of life that feel inescapable in the moment. Right now, the health of our world is in a very dark place that often feels hopeless. The moon and stars represent the hope of light and a different future.

The last piece in this series is “Such a Perfect Day.” This piece consists of a horizontal triptych, a series of three pieces meant to work together to create a whole image. Puffy white clouds float against a blue sky over a line of evergreen trees and a golden field. “Perfect Day” is inspired by early summer days, golden days when the sun feels warm and perfect and a soft breeze stirs the trees. The title comes from the Lou Reed song of the same name, a song used frequently in soundtracks to add a touch of foreboding to those similar golden days. With climate change already wreaking havoc in our world, those beautiful perfect days now come with a sense of foreboding in real life. How much longer can we expect to experience such perfect weather? Let’s savor those days while we can, and work towards the hope of more in the future.

Endangered Native Virginia Flowers

Johannah’s latest mosaic series features endangered flowering plants native to our home state of Virginia as well as other parts of the eastern United States.

Like the Nature series from last year, the Endangered Flowers series was inspired by the beauty of the natural world around us. This time, I wanted to speak more openly to the destruction and chaos we humans have inflicted on the world. And I wanted to stick close to home, explore my own backyard so to speak.

Endangered VA flowers PH2018.jpg

As I researched native Virginia flowers, the same primary environmental threat kept popping up:  wetlands habitat loss. The four flowers I chose to represent are (L to R in photo) swamp pink, pitcher plant, American chaffseed, and Virginia sneezeweed. Each of these plants lives and grows in wetlands such as sandy coastal or boggy areas. There were many other plants to chose from, and most of them thrive in similar ecosystems.

As our built environment spreads ever outward and we continue to pave more of the earth’s surface, we both destroy natural wetlands and create ever-worsening flooding issues. Further, the retention ponds we create to replace wetlands are no true substitute for the plants and animals that live in those wetlands. We may have built ourselves a place to store the water we’ve displaced, but in the process we’ve destroyed an important part of the ecosystem. Even the current Environmental Protection Agency agrees that wetlands, like those other crucial but fragile systems, rainforests and coral reefs, are vital to life on earth due in great part to their tremendous biodiversity.

Like all our mosaics, the Endangered Flowers series is created with 100% reclaimed or environmentally sustainable and stable materials. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this series will be donated to the Flora of Virginia Project.  Take a look below at a few work in progress shots as well as photos of the flowers themselves that inspired this series!

You can find the Endangered Flowers mosaic series as well as some of our other work in metal and mosaic in our shop.