Artist of the Month : Martina Heinz

Jun 1, 2022

Martina Heinz (1981) was born in Germany, she now lives and works from Oslo. Heinz has a degree in graphic design and an MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. Heinz is inspired by science where the works of art are careful observations and studies of natural forms and of fractals. These are distinguished by being irregular geometric objects. The drawings are characterized by complexity and richness of detail based on repetitions and mathematical rules. Another typical feature of her art is the use of shading techniques. The motif is built up layer by layer using a thin felt-tip pen. This is how the artist constructs the illusion of space and depth in the works. The drawings are monochrome works, where the artist has only used one color or hue, which creates an intense and energetic expression. Heinz incorporates her own perspectives and understanding of the objects she presents. The drawings remind us who look at the works about the complexity of everything that exists around us and the artist lets us see the mysterious, complex and beautiful in the existence of the little things.

‍ TF: Martina, can you tell us a little about your artistic work?

MH: I was born and raised in southwestern Germany and educated at the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. There I went a line called painting and graphics, but my class was actually a pure painting class. At first I experimented a lot with oil painting myself, but dropped it after a couple of semesters and from then on focused on drawing and printing.

After graduating, I moved to Berlin and had two solo exhibitions at the Galerie Sandra Bürgel. In 2011 I moved to Oslo, i.a. because I had a strong interest in existential philosophical, Scandinavian literature and an affinity for Scandinavian languages at this time. In Oslo, I trained as an art teacher, so in recent years I have also been involved in art communication and teaching. I have been a member of Tegnerforbundet since 2020.


TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process.

MH: I would describe my work process as a kind of phenomenological journey of exploration. I am very interested in what happens cognitively, when I observe and sketch an object, the motif of the drawing. By this I mean the "dialogue" that arises between me and the object, and the way the object manifests itself, in the form of the drawing. My drawings are in a way realistic, but they are always more than that. I would like to highlight something in them that can be compared to a tone or a frequency, an echo that can be transported further.

When I draw, time plays a big role. I have a strong focus on the process, and I emphasize it at least as much as the finished product. That may be one explanation for why I love time-consuming, traditional craft methods, such as graphic printing. At the art academy, I worked for a while at the graphics workshop, and I gradually began to imitate the same graphic expression in my drawings - with a thin felt-tip pen instead of the needle. The effect of the marker gives the motif a kind of meta-expression, a pattern-like structure that lives a little of its own life on top of the motif.


TF: What inspires you? Do you work from a theme?

MH: I used to work much more narratively before, but that's not so important to me today. What interests me most is the expression and timbre of the drawing. Having said that, I am of course inspired by scientific illustration art and the still life genre. And nature! Very often my motifs are natural motifs, such as fruit or plants. But exactly what the individual motif consists of, does not really have much to say. It is more about a basic fascination with form and complexity than about symbolism. That nature follows a kind of building plan that we humans perceive as aesthetic, has always fascinated me.


TF: What are you currently working on?

MH: At the moment I am experimenting with a number of different expressions and methods. For example, I would like to produce a couple of new etchings, so I practice a little on my technique. Another thing I work on is a series of small pencil drawings of petrified coral fragments, which I call "runes", because they remind me of letters, and there is something about their rhythm and idiom that attracts me. I have long drawn (relatively) large formats, so I challenge myself with some surgical precision work now. Maybe it will benefit me when I make graphics at a later time.


TF: What does drawing mean for you / your work?

MH: Drawing is quality time. For me, it is the maximum utilization of my life. When I draw, I am more myself than usual, and I feel more at home in the studio than in the apartment or anywhere else in the world.


TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!

MH: Coral, darker, darker and Object no. 3 belong to a series of marker and colored pencil drawings, which produce "amorphous" natural forms, ie different types of organisms or minerals, which are not related to each other in reality. I worked through the motifs in this series deliberately uniformly, in a monochromatic style and in equal size. In this way, the motifs become a little more difficult to read, it is more difficult to interpret whether something is an animal or a stone. Which is a bit of the point of the series. When one follows the research on the origin of life, it becomes clear that it is almost impossible to define clearly and unambiguously what life is. It is always a border country. I'm starting to wonder, are we the only ones who need categories like 'living' and 'dead', maybe nature is far superior to all this. Things like that can keep me awake all night.


See works by Martina Heinz in the online store .