Dancing with the Doctor | CAM Raleigh | Stage | Indy Week
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Dancing with the Doctor 

When: Thu., March 19, 7 p.m., Fri., March 20, 7 p.m. and Sat., March 21, 11 a.m. 2015

SARAH ANNE JOHNSON: DANCING WITH THE DOCTOR

CAM RALEIGH, RALEIGH

THURSDAY, MARCH 19–SATURDAY, MARCH 21

In February, we raved about Wonderland, a mid-career retrospective by Canada's Sarah Anne Johnson. It's on view at CAM Raleigh through May 5, but you can meet the artist only at these three performances and artist talks. With altered photographs and dioramas, Johnson builds slippery bridges between documentary and deceit. The most personal, emotionally laden body of work in the show is "House on Fire," which excavates the fallout from a family tragedy. Seeking treatment for post-partum depression in the 1950s, the artist's grandmother fell prey to shock therapy, sleep control and other quasi-medical experiments. She appears as a traumatized but enduring figure in pictures, bronzes, a diorama and a video, "Dancing with the Doctor," which turns into a live performance with three dancers at CAM. The video shows a stark medical environment where people have their heads on wrong: wrenched backwards, or covered with white boxes, or replaced by the heads of lab animals. It has a ghastly Lynchian feel (think the "Rabbits" short) and, given Johnson's drive to push the same motifs across different media, it's a logical conclusion for her to break the bubble into life. Email melissa.roth@camraleigh.org to RSVP. 7 p.m. Thurs.Fri.; 11 a.m. Sat., free, 409 W. Martin St., Raleigh, 919-261-5920, www.camraleigh.org.Brian Howe

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