Katja Seib

Californian Dreamer, 2016

Oil on Canvas

82 × 78 cm

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The title of this composition refers to a key motif recurring throughout the work of the German artist, Katja Seib: the oneiric. In an interview with ARTUNER, Seib says: “Dreaming equals freedom. In our dreams, we have the freedom to create our own intimate comfort zone which we can enter and where we can be whoever we want to be”.

As with Seib’s other paintings on exhibition, ‘Californian Dreamer’ is based on a photograph the artist took on Santa Monica Beach in Los Angeles during a trip around North America.

In the composition, a figure with his shoulder to the viewer looks out into the serene LA cityscape, a view obfuscated to us by the imposing presence of agave plants. The real view is just beyond our field of sight – it is the dreamer’s private experience. Seib powerfully captures the dreamer in a moment of hushed reverie. In a flourish of magical realism, Seib adds the words ‘Born to Be’ in an ant trail as if this fanciful intrusion of the unreal suggests the possibility of dreams coming true.

the artist

Born in 1989 in Düsseldorf, Katja Seib graduated from the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in early 2016 and has been working closely with ARTUNER since then. Seib studied in the MFA painting class with Prof. Tomma Abts. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Katja Seib's paintings are complex and seductive; the coarse hessian fabric, that is her painting surface of choice, allows for a play of textures and hues integrated in the visual vocabulary of her art. The artist’s painting process is quite labour-intense. Firstly, hessian cloth requires to be smoothened with several layers of rabbit glue and chalk. Then, Katja Seib mixes the pigments herself, to be in control of the thickness and degree of coarseness of the colours. This way, the artist is able to enhance her paintings’ narratives on a textural level as well; the balance between uncouth and dainty establishes the tension of these works and guides the viewer’s eye from one character to next. Katja Seib paints exclusively in a figurative style, which allows her to develop alluring and mysterious narratives of desire and strangeness. The topic of dreams is extremely important to Seib. To her, the experience of dreaming offers to the individual a much needed escape from reality. Domestic settings coexist with bizarre situations; the everyday as much as the outlandish are flattened on the same surface and yet, there is a strange sense of deepness and space that allows the work’s existence to expand beyond the limits of their own frame; the contour of a body bustling in another room, a disembodied arm opening a door, or waving a feather, a cigarette’s smoke spiralling towards the ‘real world’.

Katja Seib’s paintings are complex and seductive. Painting exclusively in a figurative style allows her to develop alluring and mysterious narratives of desire and strangeness.

Katja Seib
on Artuner

Part of the

November 10th, 2016 until
February 11th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER