Hetta Vontsteen-Pieterse works full-time at Unisa Press
as head of the Graphic Design Unit. During recent years,
she has regularly exhibited mainly in the Pretoria environment
with printmaking groups; often with the Tate Modern Studio,
under the guidance of master printmaker Mimi van der Merwe.
The Tait Modern Studio was established in 1984. Mimi studied
etching at the Académie Royale in Brussels, and at the École
Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris under Jean E Bersier.
Hetta experiments continuously with the printmaking medium
and new media, and enjoys the three-dimensionality of paper.
She prefers to do small editions of prints and once-off
prints, where chine collé elements are added on to the prints
just before the printing process. Playing and interacting
with papers, the mark-making process and with the technical
boundaries of the traditional printmaking techniques are
central to many of the works.
Hetta explores aspects of map-making; drawing parallels
between one-dimensional marks and imagery taken from maps
and the three-dimensional world (landscape, and increasingly
also fragments of the human body). This has led to a personalised
image-making style, characterised by colour application
in single flat planes (via chine collé), and by finely detailed
The resultant images often have a fragile, ephemeral quality
combined with an attempt to preserve the direct energy of
the art-making process - despite the use of an indirect
art-making method . The print-making method acts as a gateway
(and not a technical stumbling block) for enabling the creative
process, so that the medium itself retains a strong voice
in the final art work. Materials used range from traditional
copper to perspex or plastic blocks which cannot allow for
the printing of large editions. Often drawings are made
directly on to blocks, where the first spontaneous set of
lines are retained (and cannot be deleted) to form the core
of the new set of images.
In June-July 2006, Hetta exhibited works on paper at the
Grahamstown Arts Festival; at the Johan Carinus Art Centre,
with veteran printmaker Mimi van der Merwe and Carinus sculpture
lecturer Graeme Germond.
During June to August 2005, Hetta exhibited 22 printmaking
works in Pretoria, at the Voortrekker Monument; together
with digital photographic print artist Coert Wiechers.
In August to September 2004, Hetta Pieterse worked and
exhibited new works at the Cité Internationale Des Arts
in Paris, France.
She has also exhibited in Riberac, South-Western France,
and had a solo exhibition in Port Louis, Mauritius.
Hetta is married to poet Henning Pieterse, and they live
in Pretoria with their son, Thys.