Martine Johanna, “Ashes,” 2017, acrylic and resin on panel, 27 1/2 x 19 3/5 inches

Any sense of impending doom you may feel may evaporate after you view the luminous works of Martine Johanna during “Something’s Wrong,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at this New York Gallery.     

Martine Johanna’s first solo exhibition at Massey Lyuben Gallery in New York City is an intimate exploration of feminine youth that is sure to intrigue viewers. On view through June 10, “Something’s Wrong” is a vivid presentation of Johanna’s autobiographical works through both figurative and abstract techniques.

Martine Johanna, “Awake,” 2017, acrylic and resin on panel, 39 x 27 1/2 inches

“The works portray idioms of youth that melt away,” the gallery suggests, “while other scenes feel like being swept away by dreamscapes. Naively drawn totem animals work as figments of the imagination. There is a distinct feeling of loss coupled with a gratifying effect of color, composition, and light. For the first time, several figures confront the viewer with a mixture of anger, coldness, grief, persistence, and distance.

Martine Johanna, “Awoken,” 2017, acrylic and resin on panel, 39 x 27-1/2 inches
Martine Johanna, “Happy Days,” 2017, graphite and acrylic on paper, 15 x 11 inches
Martine Johanna, “Paradise Lost,” 2017, acrylic on linen, 72 x 46 inches

“Martine Johanna is an artist known for her vivid paintings with both figurative and abstract elements. Her autobiographic works, seemingly lighthearted, explore the duality between youthful naivety and anxiety-riddled adulthood. The figures, fierce but fragile, crowd the compositions and occupy the majority of the space gazing distractedly into the beyond. Each of Johanna’s delicately rendered figures convey a sense of immersion within their own internal psychic landscape.

Martine Johanna, “Paradise Lost,” 2017, graphite and acrylic on paper, 15 x 11 inches

“The work is imbued with a mysterious narrative and sensation of knowing that each character in the work has a full and complex history that the viewer can never completely comprehend. The paintings have a signature prismatic palette, visually stimulating and playful while expressing an underlying sense of uncertainty and unrest.”

To learn more, visit Massey Lyuben Gallery.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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