Martine Johanna's "A Particular Ghost"

Martine Johanna's "A Particular Ghost"

Opening on Saturday, January 13th at Hashimoto Contemporary in Los Angeles, California is People's Printshop artist Martine Johanna's solo exhibition, "A Particular Ghost."

The figures in Johanna’s paintings and drawings embody restless, ghostly fragments, illustrating how women's pleasure is entwined with the symbolic death of societal acceptance.  Using rich greens and pinks or electric blues and yellows, the Dutch artist depicts these women confronting the viewer in ecstasy or turning inward to grieve the lack of mental freedom in the moments after. Throughout this entrancing series of works, the artist weaves a compelling narrative linking social ostracization to orgasmic pleasure and safety, expanding the idiom “small death.”

Each new painting peeks into Johanna’s private world, where she grapples with women’s hypervisibility and invisibility. Though it’s difficult not to stare at the women in explicitly sexual positions, the figures don’t return the same fascinated gaze, looking through the viewer as though our presence is inconsequential. The artist also captures quiet moments with visible tension through imagined scenes like disembodied ghosts. Depicted as floating architecture enveloped by ethereal fog or precious gems hovering inside an aurora, the synthesis of women’s bodies and haunted landscapes evoke the many ways women are made invisible: silence, omission, force.

Bearing titles like A Round Object Has No Sharp Edge and A Ritual for a Small Death, the works in this exhibition aptly display society's double bind of harm and intimacy, of sexuality and humiliation. The emotional aspects of these works stems from Johanna's own emotional transformation as she confronts

her discomfort around the women she paints, instilled by her religious upbringing. In publicizing these feelings, the artist entrusts her discomfort to someone else, releasing her female specters from the safety of her mind into the danger of reality. As such, each artwork holds a prayer for these ghosts to ensure a safe passage to another realm. In a perfect world, the ghosts that haunt Johanna could simply disappear.

Take a look at a few of the stunning new works below:

Don't miss Martine's prints available in our shop.

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