Of Land, Sea and Skies ~ New Work by Whitney Knapp
July 22nd - August 4th
Opening Reception July 24th from 5 to 7pm
This collection of over twenty large and small images depicts Knapp’s fascination with the elements of land, sea, and sky in their infinitely complex relationships. For Knapp, “the sky is an intangible but governing presence.” Water reflects the sky and is the link between sky and land. In Knapp’s work, we see the reconciliation of these elements in their many and varied aspects, from the power of crashing rollers, as in “Majesty,” to the tranquility of a dirt path curving through grassy fields to a distant sea, as in “Serendipity.” (continued below images)
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Knapp is drawn to the subtleties of working in pastels and charcoal on both a large and small scale. Some images offer dramatic chiaroscuro contrasts between dark and light, as in “Deliverance,” a pastel on paper of deep black clouds merging into striations of grey with an intense light beaming down to illuminate the dark foreground. Others are highly nuanced studies in greys and whites, such as “Perpetuity,” an image of the undulating surface of the sea. “Redundancy,” charcoal and pastel on paper, is a view of the sky and a sandy path through the grassy dunes at State Beach as seen from the water, with the dunes and sky reflected in a shimmering tidal pool in the center foreground. It perfectly depicts Knapp’s sense of the cohesiveness of land, sky, and water. In a wonderful contrast to the scope of these land and seascapes is the intimacy of “Submersion,” charcoal and pastel on paper, like a time-lapse still shot of the splash made by a stone dropped into water. The ripples are a grey-blue-white background for the luminous droplets of the splash and the flecks of foam.
The titles Knapp gives to her works suggest a narrative for each piece so that we can respond to an image on several levels: first, as the physical image, then as a state of being that unites physical and spiritual experience. For Knapp, working in charcoals and pastels achieves this unity in new, fresh, and exciting ways, though she continues to work in oils. Several large oils are in the show. One is a harmony of light and shadow showing clear blue sky and water with a dirt road bending from the left foreground to disappear into grass-covered dunes. In the right foreground, the yellows, whites, and greens of the grasses seem to move in a gentle breeze. Another large oil on canvas is a version of the smaller pastel “Perpetuity.” Here, Knapp uses a monochromatic palette of cool blues, blacks, and greys to direct our attention to the image of rippling surface waves over an infinitely deep sea that blurs into the horizon.