Marna Hattingh

South Africa 1977

Illustration, Painting

www.marnahattingh.com

Marna Hattingh
Marna Hattingh
Female
South Africa
1977
March 11, 2016

Visual art was always the most useful medium when trying to represent dreams. Nevertheless, it depends on the artist in what way will the dreams as a product of someone’s mind be presented. Marna Hattingh started as a children’s book illustrator, creating paintings for group exhibitions along the way. Keeping her focus on both forms, in the end produced a compelling artwork. A unique combination of illustrative experience and social observance managed to create paintings which have a potential to intrigue both sides of the viewer’s mind – viewer as a child and viewer as a grown and mindful being. It’s a complex combination of two polarities – possible only in dreams.

Marna Hattingh - Little Things,-2015 - Photo credits arttimes.co.za (Detail)
Marna Hattingh – Little Things,-2015 – Photo credits arttimes.co.za (Detail)

South Africa as a Starting Point

Marna Hattingh graduated at the University of Stellenbosch in 2000 with a BA Fine Arts degree and a post-graduate honours degree in Illustration. It could be said her art is influenced by her native culture. African influence can be seen in the chosen colors and various details that are found in the artwork, but it goes beyond that. It incorporates global ideas and observations and South Africa is just the starting point – Marna observes the world through her own eyes. The idea of who she is prevails and she doesn’t let the outside influence to become the inner one. What it means is, even though the spur can come from the outer world (media), it is shaped in the subjective way Marna acknowledges it.

Her characters are rarely static, even when they are simply standing. Through the simple motion of walking or dancing, these anonymous characters tell a story, or better yet, they tell a part of a much bigger story. Also, they are almost absorbed in the background colors, giving the pictures a heavy detail feeling. One where the danger of being overwhelmed for the viewer exists, but is never realized.

In many of Hattingh’s pieces characters are absorbed in the background colors

Marna Hattingh -Dancers, 2013 - Photo Credits:The Cat Street Galery (Detail)
Marna Hattingh -Dancers, 2013 – Photo Credits:The Cat Street Galery (Detail)

Finding Her Ideas in Media, Fashion and Fiction

Current and traditional do not always have to be on the opposite sides. Same goes for fashion, especially when it’s presented from an artistic point of view. Through combining traditional Asian fashion with the modern western fashion, Marna’s art gives a unique look to her characters. In that way, they manage to show the coexistence of those two worlds. Because of that and the art style, her art often stands out in exhibitions where more artists are presented. A good example is the exhibit from 2015, Memories in Motion. Thanks to the variety of colors and details, her art doesn’t have the realistic view on the given topic, but the fictional one. A view a child can enjoy and a grown up person can admire.

Hattingh combines traditional and modern fashion in her artworks

Marna Hattingh - Hollywood en Kerkmusiek, 2014 - photo credits: mcontemp.com (Detail)
Marna Hattingh – Hollywood en Kerkmusiek, 2014 – photo credits: mcontemp.com (Detail)

Balanced Harmony

The core of Marna’s art is finding the point where two opposite sides collide and find unity. Be it in fashion, personalities or culture. She creates art that has a lot to say, but at the same time, it leaves space for the viewers to contemplate on their own version of the story. Sometimes, this kind of approach can be misguiding and it can miss the point, but with Marna, that’s not the case. Her work balances on the quality line between either being too complex or being too simple. She manages that with the rich colors, occasional usage of shadows and her characteristic style. The occasional shadow is specially interesting because by not inserting shadows in every artwork she preserves the freshness and randomness of her art. Artworks with a shadow leave a deeper impression, while those that lack shadows, logically also lack the depth. If all of the artworks followed the same procedure,no matter if the first or the later one, the overall result would not be as interesting. This way, it shows how the small details can sometimes play a big role, especially in art.

She is represented by The Cat Street Gallery in Hong Kong.

Marna Hattingh lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Featured image: Marna Hattingh – Meeting, Photo Credits artvault.co.za
All work copyright © Marna Hattingh

YearName of the ExibitionGallery-MuseumSolo-Group
2015Memories in MotionM Contemporary SydneyGroup
2015Group ExhibitionArt Central, Hong KongGroup
2015Marna HattinghCape Town Art FairSolo
2014The Trouble With MemoryErdmann Contemporary, Cape TownGroup
2014Launch ExhibitionErdmann Contemporary, Cape TownSolo
2014Colour Collaborations V&A Waterfront, Cape TownGroup
2013Crossing the DivideErdmann Contemporary, Cape TownGroup
2013Each Their Own WildernessM Contemporary SydneyGroup
2013Marna HattinghM Contemporary SydneySolo
2013Wonder Works The SpaceThe Cat Street Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2012Tjorts/CheersAssociation of Visual Arts, Cape TownGroup
2011AddictionErdmann Contemporary, Cape TownGroup
2008Group ExhibitonErdmann Contemporary, Cape TownGroup
2007Paper and meAssociation of Visual Arts. Cape TownSolo
2007Room-travelWhatiftheWorld. Cape TownGroup
2006The Collage ShowWhatiftheWorld. Cape TownGroup
2006Choice AssortmentWhatiftheWorld. Cape TownGroup
2006Illustration nationWhatiftheWorld. Cape TownGroup
2005AVA Committee’s ChoiceAssociation of Visual Arts, Cape Town Group
2005Paper never liesVEO GalleryGroup
2005Fantastic Rubbish World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg Group
2002KoesterRust-en-Vrede Gallery, Cape TownGroup
2002Clean Up.Site Specific installation at the Cape Town Naval BaseGroup
2001Emergency. Work by Young Cape Town ArtistsBrendon-Bell Roberts Gallery, Cape Town Group
1999New SignaturesBelville Art Centre Group