Marlene Steyn, 'The livingroomies' (detail), 2015. Oil and mixed media on unstretched linen, 118 x 138.5 cm

At first sight, the soft, dreamy colouring of Marlene Steyn’s work is misleading. Taking a closer look, thematic imagery of odd figures, deconstructed bodies and human-plant hybrids appear throughout her work like magic. DECO looks even closer…

Currently based in Cape Town, Marlene Steyn has had a string on exhibitions in her short but fruitful career thus far. Trained at the University of Stellenbosch, Marlene graduated with a BA in Visual Arts in 2011 before receiving her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London.  

Marlene Steyn
From top left clockwise: Marlene Steyn The Book Case Club’ 2015; Oil on canvas; 187 x 185 cm  +   Marlene Steyn ‘Your face takes up too much space’  2015; Wax & mixed media; 13 7 x 2,5 cm  +  Abraham Kritzman, Marlene Steyn, & Angels Miralda Tena installation shot of ‘His Sprinkled Blood Served to Fructify Three Golden Apples’ Atelier 35, Bucharest  +  Marlene Steyn ‘ Greenhouse girl’  2015; Oil on canvas; 184 x 182.5cm

Working in a variety of mediums, Marlene’s work is gripping with a hint of discomfort. Her painting style is tapestry-like and reflective of multiple references that include modern-day social norms, psychoanalysis, mythology and art history.

Marlene Steyn
Clock wise from top left: Marlene Steyn ‘When we share a tongue’  2015; Oil and mixed media on un-stretched canvas 182.5 x 182.5cm  +  Marlene Steyn Installation shot of ‘Mad Love’  2015  +  Marlene Steyn Installation shot of ‘Mad Love’ 2015  +   Marlene Steyn ‘ Installation shot of Mad Love’ 2015.

This year Marlene has embarked on two international residencies, one in the USA where she will be training at Vermont Studio Centre and one in Odd Cultural Node in Bucharest, Romania.  


Follow Marlene Steyn’s on Tumblr at

Have a look at her artist profiles at @Commune.1 + @Lynchee One

Information and images courtesy of + +


Read Leslie Williamson’s profile story here.

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