los-angeles

Tom Knechtel

Rosamund Felsen Gallery

The world within Tom Knechtel’s drawings and paintings consists of two principle elements: animals and sex. Under that potent big top the material expands and divides in a carnival of raging extremes—psychogiddy riffs on fairy-tale and childrens’ book illustration; the flexibility and beauty of paint; the disruption of composition; and decoration frenzy. Knechtel’s pictures detail the extravagant inner-workings of the body, animal and human, to the point where the artist becomes a dandyish vivisectionist who presents a strong visual spiel about individuality, solitude, and teeming feelings of arousal.

In a drop-dead hilarious picture, The Satyr (all works 1991–92)—which could replace the American flag whenever the stars and stripes don’t feel like getting up in the morning—a muscley, hoofed satyr stands austerely on his hairy hind legs, in heroic three-quarter view as if posturing for the

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