Review: Carla Knopp's Dewclaw Exhibition 

click to enlarge Carla Knopp's 'Lastrada Estates.'
  • Carla Knopp's 'Lastrada Estates.'

Circle City Industrial Complex (South Studios): through December 30.

A mammalian dewclaw may be vestigial, but it's not without interest from an evolutionary perspective. Accordingly, Carla Knopp's "Lane Marker" paintings, on display in her Dewclaw space, ruminate on vestigiality, on functionlessness.

Take, for example, "Lastrada Estates," where you see termite-mound-like edifices in the foreground. What could they be for, we wonder, seeing as these edifices would seem to be more consistent with Knopp's imaginary landscapes (notably, her "Mounts" series) than these paintings ostensibly depicting the natural world.

But once you get past the mounds in the foreground, there's more to puzzle over: The "Estates" of this painting, a series of low-slung buildings in the background, could be trailers or mausoleums or something in between - it's hard to tell - but they don't seem particularly well-suited to the Country Living lifestyle. The painting "Rothboden Place" showcases an even more déclassé locale. Beyond the pink growths bulging outwards in the foreground of this painting, you see a cement-block type building that seems normal except for the walls' inward-warping curvature.

In both of these oil on linen paintings - as well as in the rest of the series - the muted pinks and earth tones contribute to an overall hypnotic effect enhanced by being the metallic ground they are painted on. These landscapes have the power to draw you in - and make you wonder at the various painterly influences that congealed in Knopp's mind to precipitate her art.

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