Jóhanna Kristín Yngvadóttir's artistic career was cut short by her early death at the age of 37. In a little under ten years she had created a niche for herself in the Icelandic art world with sincere, unique and emotional paintings more in the spirit of the old German Expressionism than of the Neo-Expressionism predominant in her time.
Jóhanna Kristín used her paintings to stage and analyse issues that were important to her
at any given time. The female characters of these paintings are desperate, isolated and vulnerable in face of the vicissitudes of life. They are scantily clad, seductive, not unlike the Fates seen in the paintings of Edvard Munch, but their body language and placement usually indicate wretchedness or despair. The women are usually huddled off to the side, hunched, closed and clenched, often with entangled limbs. The male elements of the paintings, aggressive phallic shapes or shadows of men in the background, are a kind of constant threat in these pictures; see also Ballerina Resting, 1982 (LR-0288), in the Reykjavik Art Museum collection, and Björg (LR-2568), 1984.
In the painting Untitled (Night) we see a female figure, not unlike the artist herself, who has retreated to the edge of the painting to the left, the sofa she sits on transformed into a kind of animal with a snout and wings, advancing on her from the other side. In an interview with daily Morgunblaðið on 9 December 1984 Jóhanna Kristín said this about her cosmos: “The life of human beings fascinates me very much – their fate. I always need to know how people die, whether they’ve suffered.”