The Art Assassin

a nonfiction novel by Albert Wang

Chapter 52: ASSASSINATION: Angela Knowles, Artist Represented by Ugallery and Collegeartonline

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Angela Knowles with dog. Courtesy of Facebook.
Angela Knowles: Royal Laboratory Scientists: Konigslabor Wissenschaftler, 2008, oil on canvas, 36 by 24 inches. Courtesy of Ugallery.

Viewing Angela Knowles‘ brilliant work through the curated online gallery at Ugallery, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, was quite an experience. I decided to find out more about the woman behind her rather unusual paintings which were featured through her portfolio that was being showcased.

I was rather pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Ms. Knowles about her paintings and her underlying philosophy. Ironically, for her radical approach to new techniques on canvas, her ideas are derived from German Idealist philosophy mashed up with her rather cool postmodernism. Very fascinating indeed. Her command of language and literary sources inform the rather surreal yet heavily conceptual artwork she presents to the viewers’ eyes.

If you have any questions about Knowles’ artwork, feel free to contact Ugallery at (888) 402-1722 or at Also you can contact Collegeartonline (CAO) at (602) 318-8224 or at

Now here are THE ART ASSASSIN’s details of the “assassination”:

qi peng: You are represented by Ugallery, which is a prominent online gallery located in Scottsdale, Arizona. How did you find about it and decided to apply for representation there?

Angela Knowles: It was totally word-of-mouth. Initially, I turned up my nose at the site because I thought that a majority of the work was under-developed. I did not want to be represented amongst the work that I had seen. After breaking down my judgment, and a friend selling a painting at an art fair through ugallery, I changed my mind. Plus, it’s streamlined for artists.

qi peng: Considering that you majored in both German and art during your undergraduate years at Berkeley, how did your studies impact the themes and techniques within your artwork?

Angela Knowles: Serious students can make their educations fit their concentrations. German and Art Practice allowed for a glorious manifold. Fortunately, the German course offerings converged with my art practice and vise-versa. For example, last semester, I enrolled in a German graduate course, ‘Body in Literature’ led by Claudia Benthien from the Uni Hamburg that dealt not only in the literary realm, but also dedicated largely to the body in art. This class allowed me concentrate on progressing my use of my body and other bodies in my work. Studying Acconci, Nauman, Abromovic, Burden, Horn, Wilke and all the other performance greats provided a great soundboard to what I was doing already and what I would do.

qi peng: What attracted me to your portfolio at Ugallery was the hard-driven
conceptual art that you presented that you presented within the traditional medium of painting. What do you think about the supposed “death of painting” arguments within the contemporary art criticism? Also what is the relationship between your installation work and sculptures/reliefs/paintings?

Angela Knowles: First, thanks for being attracted and looking at my work. Now to the argument:
Life-Death serve linguistically as diametrical archetypes, opposites, extremes. It’s easier to say something and be heard, if you use these types of terms. Honestly, I think it’s a cheap strategy for artists and art critics. Does one’s fame or success rely in the death of another? Why can we not perceive the art world more dynamically?

I consider myself to be a dynamic artist and person, like so many others. Perhaps this is just a euphemism for attention deficit. I distribute my attention to a number of mediums, painting being a crucial one. I imagine and activate my studio and environment as a laboratory; a space that sterilizes the environment for experiment and acts as a platform or neutral zone wherein the gray can unfold in search of more definite, distinct truths. The gray unfolds into a mixture of painting, printmaking and sculptural forms that communicate the lab and its ongoing experiments.

qi peng: What are the advantages of being represented by an online gallery such as Ugallery versus a physical traditional gallery space? What are the disadvantages?

Angela Knowles: I have more control and visibility with Ugallery. With a traditional gallery, I would not have a log of visitors/ interested clients, nor would I have the ease of a click to submit new work; instead, I would have to package and ship it in the flesh. Virtual = lightweight. Everybody’s work looks better in person, right? My work photographs poorly due to my palette, which includes a lot of white and neon colors. Ok, well maybe Peter Halley‘s work looks good, still his neon registers poorly.

qi peng: What are your future plans for your art career? What types of ideas do you desire to execute within an upcoming MFA program?

Angela Knowles: As I told my aunt, when we went to visit SFAI together, “I can not tell you exactly what I am going to do with an Art degree. I DO know that I will be a working artist.” Of course, she was not convinced that I should spend 40k/yr for an undergrad art education; neither was I. Anyway, I wanted a universal education and went to UC Berkeley. And here I am, still making works, even though I did not go to a top-notch art school. Most importantly, I have a big chunk of academia ingrained in my being and now I am on my own until an MFA. Even then, I am preparing to be on my own. I’d love to teach at the college level, but first things, I need to work.

qi peng: What are some of your favorite hobbies? Do you have any favorite musicians, movies, or other artists you wish to recommend to the readers?

Angela Knowles: Long distance running (just ran around Oakland‘s Lake Merritt today), gallery going, taking care of other people’s pets (that’s what keeps me alive), making first, then second talking about art, teaching.

Hmm. favorites. Bay Area artist, musician, James Cordas offers audiences a variety of synesthesiac thrills, even for those that does not see colors in response to sound.

Look up Ehren Tool, Combat Paper Project, Patch Kientz, Ernesto Caivano, Josh Keyes, Sarah Lasley, Kristen Lucas, Allison Smith, Twist,  and the one-man wonder (with a huge work force) Matthew Barney.

I really have been on a female-combatant kick, being that I was in the Air Force for five years and came from a military family; these themes play a lot into my work. So, my favorite movie right now would be G.I. Jane and book, The Few. The Proud. by Sara Sheldon. Also, a German book, Frauen und Waffen -or- Women and Weapons.

qi peng: Noting your fascination with German engineering and science, how do you incorporate those ideas into the individual pieces? How do the separate pieces form a series?

Angela Knowles: My fascination extends beyond lab science in the popular sense into the original definition of science taken from German, Wissenschaft, as a philosophical endeavor. Etymologically, wissenschaft breaks down to wissen- to know/ knowledge & schaft- making or creating, which incorporates all fields, even humanities, art inclusive. The lab scientists are dedicated to Wissenschaft.  In the a show I had called, Komm Das Will ins Königslabor (Come Will in the Royal Lab) , I introduced the lab’s iconography, members, tri-linguism (German, English, & Greek) and specifically one room within the greater lab that housed specimens that documented objects that were used by my stepfather to abuse/form me. I made object-embossments on paper that I made from my military uniforms, plaster plaques for specific objects (2×4, flyswatter, duct tape, Sno Balls) and other installation pieces. During the opening, I performed as the 1-1-a Scientist, spoke only in German, and conducted analysis that I scrawled directly onto the gallery wall under relative plaques. Within the gallery, the lab and its contents exist beyond static artifacts; the visual forms maintain an internal dialogue, between themselves, and externally with the space and the viewers.

In addition to the aforementioned dialogue, German and Greek stress my interest in the integration of languages that heavily guided Western aesthetics and Weltanschaungen, or “world-views.” These languages began to pose many questions and spread perspective. I have devoted my studies to German metaphysics in search for a bridge to the real that preserves the ideal. The dialectic does not have to die with the metaphysician’s loftiness. The Royal Lab scientist persists in exploring the Hegelian master-slave dialectic with a Heiddegarian emphasis on implements (human relationships and objects that inform/shape those relationships).

qi peng: What would you say are your predominant themes and concerns within your overall series of artworks?

Angela Knowles: Conceptual & physical architectures, visualizing the subject-object-subject relationship, organic growth.

qi peng: What are the techniques behind the “Universal Fluid Medium expressionist movement” painting series? How would you place those pieces within the context of art history, say, color field painting like Morris Louis, etc.?

Angela Knowles: I used spray paint, water guns, spray bottles, and anything other tool that acts as a medium for the Universal Fluid Medium, a term coined by Hegel. Basically, it’s paint, a lubricant between us all that cuts friction.

qi peng: What are some of your favorite physical galleries that you have visited and which exhibitions impressed you within those places?

Angela Knowles: Joe ColemanKunstwerk, Berlin
Kiefer Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin
Barry McGeeRed Dot, LA
Anniversary Show, Luggage Store, SF
Drawing Restraint, SF MOMA

For more gossip or dishing me the art scoop: E-mail me at

Written by qi peng

May 12, 2009 at 2:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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