Silke Otto-Knapp, a painter known for her enigmatic paintings of figures and landscapes, died in her home in Pasadena Oct. 9. She was 52.
Her death was confirmed by Regen Projects, the Los Angeles gallery that represents her work.
“It is with profound sadness that Regen Projects announces the passing of artist Silke Otto-Knapp,” said Regen Projects in a statement.
“Otto-Knapp’s oeuvre is defined by monochromatic watercolor paintings, many of which derive their subject matter from the history of theater, dance, and performance. Her atmospheric works explore interrelations between the real and the ideal, the personal and the social, referencing moments, images, and landscapes, transforming and transcending their origins.”
According to reports, Otto-Knapp died after battling ovarian cancer. She was reportedly diagnosed with cancer two years ago.
Otto-Knapp was born in 1970 in Osnabrück, Germany, and was based at various points in London, Vienna, and Los Angeles.
She majored in cultural studies at the University of Hildesheim before earning her Master of Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Art and Design, now the Chelsea College of Arts, in London.
She has worked and taught at the University of California Los Angeles as Professor of Painting and Drawing in the School of Art and Architecture since 2015.
As an artist, she has developed a unique style of watercolor painting. She paints forms and figures by adding, removing and drenching her canvases. She uses this watercolor technique to depict figures in motion.
Her breakthrough works from the early 2000s are watercolors based on ready-made photographs. Some of the photographs were sourced while some were snapped by Otto-Knapp herself.
Her works had been widely seen at venues in Europe and the U.S.
Otto-Knapp’s work is included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Art Institute of Chicago; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mudam, Luxembourg; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Tate Modern, London; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and more.
“Otto-Knapp made an indelible impact through her singular work as an artist. Her generosity as a friend, mentor, colleague and teacher was deeply felt by all that encountered her,” said Regen Projects.
A solo exhibition by her will open this month at New York’s Galerie Buchholz, which also represents her.
Another exhibit will open in November at the Casa Mutina Milano in Italy.