Silke Otto-Knapp

The way catastrophes are reported in the news regularly prompts discussions on the formative influence media images have on our understanding of these events. Much less is said about how our notions about paradisiacal places, unspoiled wilderness, or the oases of the leisure class are also created largely by images from TV, movies, and newspapers. Those who have never been to Las Vegas can imagine it as a glamorous nonplace, far from reality; Los Angeles, to those who don’t know it firsthand, is the palm-lined mecca of the stars

Silke Otto-Knapp, a German artist who lives in London, works with such media-based impressions. Her watercolors on canvas are always based on either her own photographs or ones found in newspapers. Coming after a series of Las Vegas motifs, which typically combined neon architecture with snippets of nature, Otto-Knapp’s new paintings (all works 2002) depict unsettling,

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