Deep Oil – Forage: thought-provoking art at the Côte Saint-Luc library

Côte Saint-Luc, January 28, 2011 – Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are the unusal subject of Harlan Johnson’s moody landscape paintings on display at the Art Gallery of the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library from January 27, 2011 to March 6, 2011.

Two years before the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Harlan Johnson had started work on Deep Oil – Forage. The series depicts offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, often during blowouts. A blowout occurs when a sudden release of oil and gas from a well after pressure control systems have failed.

The artist uses a stark, sometimes muddled color palette to reinforce a sense of neglect and imminent danger. The drilling platforms are depicted as hulking silhouettes spewing flames, smoke and steam. The spatters and washy brush strokes are symbolic of the debris left behind by one of these devastating blowouts.

These large acrylic-on-canvas paintings illustrate the natural environment disrupted. The sea is shown in its strength and fragility.

Born in Halifax, Johnson has had a lifelong passion for all things Cajun. The south is not only the subject of this art exhibition, it also feeds his appetite for Zydeco music. (He plays the squeezebox in the Montreal-Cajun band Grouyan Gombo). He lives and works in Montreal where he received a BFA and MFA from Concordia University. His work has been shown in several Canadian cities including Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Moncton. He currently teaches in the Fine Arts Department at Dawson College and in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University. His current art projects can be viewed at

The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is located at 5851 Cavendish Blvd. and is open from 10am to 10pm every day. For more information, call the library at 514-485-6900 or visit

- 30 -

For more information, contact: Mona Turner, 514-485-6900 ext. 4205 or

Share this