The notion of the ghost ship stems from a folkloristic chronology. A ship, void of any human crew, drifts through an odyssey on the sea. Katja Seib’s painting infuses this mythic thread with a hint of humour. A ghoulish female figure lurks away from an eerily white ship with one foot sinking into the deathly black waters. Like many of Seib’s characters, the protagonist refuses a direct readability: her expression veers between coyness, contempt and disgust without landing on one expressive proclivity.
As a painter, Seib’s work links personal emotional considerations with dreamlike sensibilities. For ‘Girl Leaving a Ghost Ship Party Secretly’, hints of our physical reality – i.e. the Chanel branding casually applied over the white handbag – mix with an oneiric and a fantastical flatness and figure. The eerie scene is pared down, with a reduced pure palette, distinctive blocks of colour, and a limited depth of field. It inspires a sense of bewilderment: we’re left to wonder what the waif-like form is looking back at and why she is wandering away from the fête. Are we witnessing an ambivalent autobiographical self-reflection or a broader comment on alienation? Seib’s painting draws out the interest of the viewer through a familiar scene while distancing them through the representation of an emotionally-void lurking, ghoulish apparition.