Dutch painter Martine Johanna is known for her character-driven work, focusing mainly on pretty women that seem to be forever shrouded in thought. “The work is mostly autobiographic, so a lot of it deals with childhood memories, fascinations and that whole zone between being a kid and growing up and all the emotional turmoil that comes with it,” relayed Johanna in an interview with The HYDE Magazine. “Most of the characters are not airbrush perfect or standard but the color palette makes you feel that they are perfect, so any dark circles under the eyes or intense expressions do not feel negative.”
Her paintings are very much based on dreams, personal experiences and personality conflicts between the authentic self, taught mannerism and projected morality. Bright and glossy, Johanna’s use of color is striking, treating color and form as a sort of metaphor (“an allegory in tones,” she calls it).
“I don’t want them to fall flat or be just pretty, I want life in them and experiences because that is what makes people interesting,” she explains, talking about the ways her characters are portrayed on canvas. “But whatever the viewer feels I feel is completely up to them, although a lot of people feel a connection to these paintings and see something of themselves in them. And it is women and men that feel that connection.”
Born and raised in Gelderland, the Netherlands, Johanna has studied at ArtEZ the Academy of Fine Arts in Arnhem, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters’s degree. Her work has been exhibited since in multiple solo shows in the Netherlands, Europe, and the United States, but you can also follow her art online, via Instagram: