In Los Angeles, where non-native fauna, golf courses, and man-made lakes collide with a desert, mountains and sea, what is a natural landscape? What is escape, when surrounded by the fabricated artificial?
In a gesture that considers the methodologies of contemporary art, theme restaurants, parks, and interior design, Los Angeles National Forest is comprised of a 7' x 7' x 7' room with a 3' x 5' entryway into a planned wilderness. The greens of a lush copse are represented by gelled lighting and printed leaves; wood is presented in the form of building materials, natural to a point but treated as a commodity; a naturalist's escape to a Southern California beach is alluded to by a perpendicularly-flipped fast food restaurant motif.
I am interested in creating art that can be at once analytical and illogical, grounded in the mundane while walking the path of the sublime. My aim is to create pleasurably disorienting reflections of a metaphoric modern world, where one achieves estrangement from everyday experience and all meaning is reached through indirect means, individual thought processes. Constructing all encompassing, unfamiliar spatial experiences is a method in my work to expand upon the theories and lessons of post-modern conceptual art and to question its failures. I like to think of my practice as a slippage between crafstman and trickster, investigating the uncanny, transforming medium, space, and perception.
Keith Rocka Knittel holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and a BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art (M.I.C.A). He is currently a staff member at the USC Roski School of Fine Arts, and the founding director of OCEAN (westofcalifornia.org). He lives and works in San Pedro, California.