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Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to announce Astrolabe, an exhibition of recent work by Los Angeles based artist Tom Knechtel.

Knechtel is known for constructing complex allegorical narratives that explore fluid identities, sexuality, animal nature and other universal themes. The exhibition consists of 34 drawings and four paintings executed in the last three years.

Knechtel, who is known for his masterful pastel drawings, has in this case executed ink drawings from life, an unforgiving process which allows only forward movement. As the artist states: "I wanted to push myself into uncomfortable zones. I drew my parents, who died during the course of the past four years, my grandson, and my husband who is dealing with Parkinson's. Those explorations, together with the process of examining my own features, resulted in work which revolves around the fragility of the human body. At a time when many artists are reemphasizing the role of the hand in art making, these works embody the most intimate connection between the hand and the self, all caught in a web of time and mortality.”

The paintings, which exemplify Knechtel's roiling mix of exotic allegory and narrative, have become more focused on the fate of a central figure. In the monumental Let’s See, 2016, a figure dives beneath a watery surface a collage of lithe limbs, ribbons and sculptural elements. In another work, Flounder and Heron, 2015, layers of rich oil glazes adorn the protagonist, a glowing white heron. The title of the show, Astrolabe, refers to a navigation instrument used from classical antiquity through the Renaissance, which helps find one's way in unfamiliar territory.

A concurrent exhibition, The Reader of His Own Self, a retrospective of prints and drawings made by the artist over the last 35 years, was on view at CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles from September 10 – October 30, 2016.

Tom Knechtel was born in Palo Alto, California in 1952. In 2002 he had a 25year retrospective entitled On Wanting to Grow Horns, which opened at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in North Carolina before traveling to the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, The Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu, and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. He has had other solo exhibitions at Grant Selwyn Fine Art, the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, PPOW Gallery in New York and Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles. Knechtel has been included in numerous group exhibitions at venues including The Drawing Center, New York, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut, Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His work is in the permanent collections of The Berardo Collection, Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Portugal, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Orange County Museum of Art and The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. Tom Knechtel artist lives and works in Los Angeles.

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