Marlene Steyn

b. 1989, South Africa

A Tall Atoll, 2020
Acrylic on linen

Image courtesy Smac Gallery, South Africa, & the artist
This painting was part of a solo exhibition titled Meander Me and Her at Smac Gallery in 2020.

It features the recurring motif of young blonde woman – who resembles the artist. The artist’s body and face manifest as the ‘land’ and landscapes in the series of works made for this exhibition. It suggests the paintings are inner landscapes that are ironically inseparable from the artist’s external features. In this way she can’t escape herself – this has implications for her as an artist – whose work inevitably is about herself, but also as a blonde woman, associated with the stereotypes delineated by her physical appearance. Her blonde hair in this image becomes her crowning glory -  gives her status – though beneath this crown – is a very layered psychic landscape, which refers not only to a history of ‘blonde’ women but the multiple identities belying the artist/subject.