Martine Johanna's Balancing Act
Martine Johanna continues her exploration of the female psyche with a new series of paintings and drawings at Massey Klein Gallery. The paintings and drawings in the exhibition depict Johanna’s women in uncanny situations that draw attention to the subjects’ internal landscapes.
The works in Balancing Act are vibrant and unsettled. Her heroines visibly grapple with the weight and tension of the expectations that society has placed on them. The figures’ internal dilemmas, made visible through concentrated facial expressions and calculated postures, spill into their surroundings, manifesting in rainbows, fractured and hemorrhaging color fields, and even levitating objects.
The artist’s focus on the interior thoughts and struggles of her subjects are depicted here through the relationship between the figure and interior setting and objects. One subject poses with a bowling ball on her head; in another, she uses her powerful gaze to suspend the object. Johanna pays special attention to commonplace domestic items. In Composure and Control, an intricate rug grounds the figure, while the background becomes fractured and ambiguous. In Critical Thinking, Release, and The Floor Is Lava, the figures are positioned confidently in and on chairs, suggesting leverage and power. Her subjects crowd their surroundings, flattening the pictorial space while conjuring feelings of urgency and immediacy.
Take a 3D tour of the exhibition here.