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Silke Otto-Knapp, White lilac, 2009

Silke Otto-Knapp White lilac, 2009 watercolour on canvas 140 x 120 cm Photo: Marcus Leith Courtesy of greengrassi, London

Silke Otto-Knapp: Land lies in water

February 14 – July 19, 2015

Los Angeles–based painter Silke Otto-Knapp is known for her complex, delicate paintings. Working mostly in a black, grey and silver palette, Otto-Knapp's largely monochrome works are studies in the use of light and translucency. Every composition is carefully constructed, and Otto-Knapp's subjects are pioneering women artists, modern dancers, interiors, landscapes, seascapes and avant-garde stage designs. Unlike traditional watercolourists, Otto-Knapp paints on canvas and linen, which allows her to repeatedly wash away and rebuild layers of paint, lending her delicate images a distinctive flatness and luminosity.

For her first major exhibition in North America, the AGO presents approximately 30 of her recent canvases, ranging from barren ocean seascapes to sharply defined silhouettes of modern dancers. Three of Otto-Knapp's paintings, including Sailboat with Moon (2012), will go on display in the AGO's Thomson Collection of Ship Models. The spare simplicity of these canvases stands out boldly in relation to the painstakingly detailed models displayed in the space.

Organized by Art Gallery of Ontario


Artist talk and opening reception with performance
March 18, 2015
Artist talk: 5:30 pm, Jackman Hall, free
Public opening: 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Walker Court, free

The opening reception will feature artist Ei Arakawa's collaboration with New York–based Hawaiian dance team Hālau Hula O Na Mele 'Āina O Hawai'I, led by the native Hawaiian Luana Haraguchi. They will perform traditional hula (Kahiko) in Walker Court beginning at 7 pm, telling stories of the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. Otto-Knapp and Arakawa are frequent collaborators.

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