Merrill Knopf MD

I am an expert in seeing. I went to medical school, learned how our bodies and mind worked and then studied vision at the Kresge Eye Institute. I became an ophthalmologist specializing in surgery and the treatment of eye diseases. I began as an artist in my preteens when I got my first camera. I continued with photography until the 1970’s when I completed most of the art classes at Long Beach City College. I added courses at Cal State Long Beach and the Otis art institute.
Art was my avocation. My initial works were in charcoal, acrylics, and clay, and for 15 years I spent Saturday mornings at a life drawing class. About 20 years ago I began working with hot metal and kiln formed glass.
I like metal and glass because they are a melding of science and art. At very high temperatures metal and glass become liquids. When liquefied the molecules that make up their physical structure become more active, loose the bonds that hold them together as a solid object and move. I ascribe life to the molecules and believe knowledge of their behavior and directing their movement can be used in creating the final piece.
Glass is an extremely complex structure both chemically and physically. Glass is an amorphous liquid. It is not solid. Glass is really a liquid that has been cooled enough that it appears solid like when water freezes. Time, temperature, and the basic material used are just a few of the things that are critical when working with glass. If the glass is cooled or heated too rapidly it breaks. There are certain temperatures at which the glass is more or less viscous. One temperature is required for the molecules to bond with each other; another temperature is required for it to rest and stabilize. The time and rate of its cooling must be controlled to eliminate stress. An example of how critical it is to control the temperature and its rate of change is the Palomar telescope. After reaching its molten state the lens of the Palomar telescope required control of its cooling temperature for ten months.
My glass pieces take days to weeks to produce. Even with critical control of time, temperature, and the materials used about 15% of my images break.
Fish live in liquids. Because glass is really a liquid, one of my favorite images is a fish. I look for other things that convey life. For example, faces. Glass has an extremely long longevity. There are human made glass pieces that are thousands of years old.
I believe art is a medium of communication and expresses the artist’s subconscious. I think I am driven by insecurity, and I think the statements I am trying to make are that “life is precious” and “that everything in the universe is interconnected”.
I hope that my art conveys my appreciation for the society that gave me this opportunity. Thank you for participating in the process and viewing my work.



Contact Information

Merrill Knopf MD
(562) 439-9553

Artist Links

Artist Work

works in glass (2020)
images of faces and fish created in glass

flowers (2020)
metal sculptures

fish (2018)
Glass is not solid, it is a semisolid liquid and only appears solid because of its present temperature. Fish live in liquids. They are at home in this media

wall of portraits (2010)
portraits all done at the same time