Behavioural patterns (ii) (2020) – hand-pulled screen print by Marna Hattingh
The densely patterned, colourful work of Marna Hattingh (b.1977) occupies a hybrid, ambiguous space in both form and meaning. She describes her artworks as “interrogations of the complexity and the contradictions of human nature and also the absurdity of life”, with her background in children’s book illustration lending her practice a playfulness and humour that belie the darker, satirical and more serious thematic undercurrents. Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Asian fashion, the media, history and novels, she creates a kind of parallel universe, where grotesque-cute , busy characters are layered over dizzying backgrounds in an intensive and intricate creative process. Depth is flattened, non-existent or even used to introduce additional “parallel worlds”, with shadow planes further populated by lyrical imagery that collides with and complicates the layers of narrative. The result is an idiosyncratic graphic style that has been described as a “hyper-textual visual language”.1
Hattingh has held solo and group shows in South Africa and Australia and participated in group exhibitions in Hong Kong and Milan as well as residencies and workshops in Zambia and Belgium. Her work is housed in collections in South Africa and the UK. South African born and educated, she is currently based in Australia, where she is represented by .M Contemporary.
1. .M Contemporary Gallery, Australia.