The women that populate Martine Johanna‘s world are pensive warriors who occupy a place of tension between powerful command and fragile insecurity; and between upstanding morality and dark cruelty. In many ways, the figural subjects of Johanna’s paintings are conflate the complex binaries between which people battle and waver, settle and compromise. While each subject is shown as unique in appearance and mood, they are all united by a distant, thoughtful gaze − a metaphor for the wandering, worrying human mind.
Last weekend, Los Angeles rain didn’t stop crowds from turning out to the Audrey Kawasaki, Tara McPherson, and Deedee Cheriel show at Merry Karnowsky. The line was over a block long while inside the gallery, not an inch of wall space was spared. In addition to colorful new paintings, the adjacent room debuted smaller works by Cheriel, McPherson’s process sketches and a wall of prints. As we mentioned in our preview, there was an air of fantasy throughout, but each artist distinguished herself with personal motifs.