Silke Otto-Knapp, an artist whose uncommon strategy of portray with layered watercolors on canvas to create massive, enigmatic landscapes or figures in movement drew worldwide consideration over a profession that spanned greater than twenty years, died Sunday morning at her dwelling in Pasadena.
Two years in the past, Otto-Knapp was recognized with ovarian most cancers, which just lately grew to become aggressive. Her dying was confirmed by Regen Initiatives, the Los Angeles gallery that represents her work. She was 52.
“Within the ready room (7),” a monumental three-panel portray of seven figures that stretch, kneel, dance, sprawl and in any other case bodily exert themselves, was proven final 12 months in a Regen Initiatives exhibition. As with a lot of her work, the portray was made by laying down delicate layers of watercolor, a few of which Otto-Knapp then washed with a sponge or swept away with a dry brush.
Clear paint soaked into the canvas weave, leaving visually elusive traces behind. Some was successfully erased, whereas the remainder was pushed into adjoining areas the place it constructed up. The ephemeral result’s a picture of shimmering, quicksilver figures in optically dense and visually absorbent areas.
Poetic landscapes and seascapes shaped one other outstanding physique of labor, generally evoking unsettled work by Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch, visionary landscapes by British Romantic artist Samuel Palmer or floating clouds by American artist Georgia O’Keeffe. For the 2016 “Made in L.A.” biennial exhibition on the UCLA Hammer Museum in Westwood, Otto-Knapp made a monumental six-panel portray for the entry stairwell. Beneath a shining moon, silvery grey islands and rocky fingers of land appear to float inside an enormous, black, watery expanse.
Otto-Knapp’s determine work typically refer to bop. She was particularly interested in these efficiency components that mirrored what she known as “on a regular basis actions,” resembling merely reaching, bending or strolling. The Ballets Russes, Polish dancer Bronislava Nijinska and American choreographer Yvonne Rainer are among the many notable dance artists whose work knowledgeable her work.
In 2011 she participated in open rehearsals within the Turbine Corridor of London’s Tate Trendy, the place British choreographer Michael Clark was making ready a public efficiency with 50 novice dancers. The piece, “TH,” included a contemplative pop music soundtrack by David Bowie, Pulp and Kraftwerk, in addition to a monochrome stage design. The our bodies of dancers she encountered there discovered their approach into Otto-Knapp’s work.
The layering of watercolor to invoke motion or change additionally influenced her manufacturing of distinctive etchings. In some, three totally different plates have been printed at totally different levels of manufacturing in order that no single picture would seem mounted or immutable.
Born in Osnabrück, Germany, Otto-Knapp grew up on a dairy farm, which led to her deep curiosity within the pure world. She obtained a level in cultural research from the College of Hildesheim and a grasp of high-quality arts from the London faculty previously known as Chelsea Faculty of Artwork and Design. Her first Los Angeles solo exhibitions have been at Overduin and Kite Gallery in 2009 and 2013. She joined the college at UCLA as an affiliate professor of portray and drawing in 2015.
Otto-Knapp’s work has been exhibited internationally, together with at galleries and museums in Berlin, Tokyo, Copenhagen, London, Vienna and Rome, in addition to Los Angeles. Her work is within the collections of New York’s Museum of Trendy Artwork, the Artwork Institute of Chicago, Tate Trendy and others. Presently, a two-panel panting, “Monotone (Moonlit Scene after Samuel Palmer),” is included in “Joan Didion: What She Means,” a gaggle exhibition that includes 63 artists and meant to evoke the late California author’s ethos, opening this week on the Hammer Museum. A solo exhibition is scheduled to open later this month at Galerie Buchholz in New York.
Otto-Knapp is survived by sister Iris Madill; sister Kirsten Otto-Knapp and her husband, Holger; and nieces and nephews Jannik, Sophie and Matilda Otto-Knapp and Alfie Madill.