Katja Seib

Diva, 2016

oil and dip dye on canvas

170 × 200 cm

Private Collection

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Complex narratives of intimacy and seduction often simmer at the surface of Katja Seib’s works. In ‘Diva’, a lounging woman focuses her gaze directly at the viewer in a pose reminiscent of Picabia’s 1940s nudes. Behind her, the background fades to black and white and ghost-like arms offer grapes and jewellery to the figure.

The roses in the ‘diva’s’ bountiful hair and the flower carefully placed between her legs are unambiguous symbols of desire and love; the reclining woman revels in her beauty, so caught up in her narcissism that she ignores the gifts the anonymous hands proffer. Her confidence is emphasised by her clothing; the nun on the figure’s t-shirt with the words ‘bad habits’ is a symbol of rebelliousness and defiance, but it also suggests that despite the beauty of this woman, she suffers from human imperfections like any other.

The juxtaposition of the familiar, colourful scene and the spectral hands is typical of Seib’s interest in oneiric worlds; this could be a dreamscape, in which reality and fantasy are entangled. This is enhanced through Seib’s use of colour; the woman’s shorts and bedsheet are deliberately painted with the same tie-dye effect to contrast with the carefully painted face and skin. This leads to an opening out of the picture, inviting the viewer in to the woman’s space.

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