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Ken Knight - From the Artist’s Studio

From the Artist’s Studio

An Exhibition of Paintings by Ken Knight

28 March – 3 June, 2015

Exhibition Opening

Saturday 28 March at 2pm by Harriet Elvin
Chief Executive Officer, Cultural Facilities Corporation, an ACT Government initiative

Ken Knight is an artist whose work bears testimony to his commitment to the long and honourable tradition of plein air painting. This commitment creates, paradoxically, both discipline and freedom in his working method: the discipline of needing to respond rapidly and truthfully to the natural light, the actual scenery, the prevailing weather conditions and, indeed, the artist’s own emotional state; the freedom of allowing the unexpected and serendipitous to occur as he applies paint to canvas with speed and spontaneity in an outdoor setting. Ken’s working method results in paintings that are characterised by their honesty, vitality and vigour. Being present in the landscape compels him to select carefully what he wants to convey of its complexity – simplifying and condensing, so that those details he chooses to portray gain heightened significance.

This exhibition gives us the opportunity to experience works that result from a twofold process of selection: the initial selection of the subject and its translation onto canvas, with a subsequent selection of an area of the original painting, physically cut down to create a “slice” of landscape that gains further potency by being reduced in scale. Whatever the size of the works, all convey Ken’s delight in painting outside in a landscape setting, experiencing the open air, capturing the fleeting moment, and providing us, his audience, with a chance to share that fleeting moment with him.

Harriet Elvin

Putting together a collection of paintings for an Exhibition is always an interesting exercise for an artist. Over a number of years I have been putting aside the best examples of my work in the Canberra region. Some of these are large and impressive paintings.

As a departure to my normal approach, I have recently been intrigued with finding the small picture within the big picture for a new interpretation of the landscape.

I am driven to paint outside and it is the sweeping vistas and obvious views that often captivate my attention. Back in the studio, I review these plein air paintings and frequently crop them, a bit like cropping photographs to improve the image in terms of design and structure.

I have become increasingly interested in the small off-cuts. I have a band saw outside my studio where I trim my paintings, and there have been many occasions when I study the off-cut and think about what an interesting slice of reality it presents. It offers a micro view as opposed to the macro view of the world that we normally engage in. The result is that we see a reduced and intimate landscape that offers a more poetic interpretation. If you remove a lot of the obvious landscape elements in a painting like the sky, foreground or horizon, the resulting painting becomes potentially more compelling.

In preparing for the exhibition at Bungendore Wood Works Gallery over the last twelve months, I have looked at all the paintings in the studio and have cut many down to less than half their original size, and some are only twenty percent of their original size.

The result is a dynamic and more abstract collection of paintings. Arthur Streeton called small paintings “little rotters“ referring to the small gems painted outside. They were typically fresh, energetic and eye catching: simple interpretations of a complex world.

I have taken the dictum “less is more“ quite literally. I am excited at the prospect of exhibiting these for the first time. The benefit of having a good collection of older works in the studio means that many of these older paintings that did not work in their own right have now been liberated. Consequently this exhibition will be an interesting cross section of twenty year’s work.

The act of cutting a painting into much smaller pieces is a major and non reversible decision. In most cases, the new and smaller painting that has emerged presents a more idiosyncratic and less predictable view of the landscape. Thankfully, there were only a few occasions when I went dashing off for the glue.

Ken Knight

Jindabyne Rocks, oil on board, 25x31cm $3,000 (SOLD)
Jindabyne Rocks, oil on board, 25x31cm $3,000 (SOLD)
Afternoon Light Venice, oil on board, 17x50cm $3,000
Afternoon Light Venice, oil on board, 17x50cm $3,000
Berowra Waters, oil on board, 41x18cm $3,000
Berowra Waters, oil on board, 41x18cm $3,000
Bronte, oil on board, 10x22cm $1,650
Bronte, oil on board, 10x22cm $1,650
Canberra Hinterland, oil on board, 9x50cm $2,400
Canberra Hinterland, oil on board, 9x50cm $2,400
Canola Crop Harden, oil on board, 17x52cm $3,000
Canola Crop Harden, oil on board, 17x52cm $3,000
Distant Thunder, oil on board, 13x18cm $880
Distant Thunder, oil on board, 13x18cm $880
Farmyard Cottages, oil on board, 13x18cm $880
Farmyard Cottages, oil on board, 13x18cm $880
Golden Landscape Western District, oil on board, 35x63cm $4,800
Golden Landscape Western District, oil on board, 35x63cm $4,800
Harden, oil on board, 13x18cm $880
Harden, oil on board, 13x18cm $880
Jugiong Landscape, oil on board, 90x150cm $18,800
Jugiong Landscape, oil on board, 90x150cm $18,800
Landscape near Yass, oil on board, 30x27cm $3,000
Landscape near Yass, oil on board, 30x27cm $3,000
Maitland Landscape, oil on board, 22x23cm (SOLD)
Maitland Landscape, oil on board, 22x23cm (SOLD)
Moonrise, Blue and Gold, oil on board, 25x50cm $4,000
Moonrise, Blue and Gold, oil on board, 25x50cm $4,000
Neutral Bay, oil on board, 19x63cm $4,000
Neutral Bay, oil on board, 19x63cm $4,000
Riverbend, oil on board, 30x25cm $3,000
Riverbend, oil on board, 30x25cm $3,000
Sorrento, oil on board, 16x50cm $3,000
Sorrento, oil on board, 16x50cm $3,000
South Coast Beach Scene, oil on board, 16x50cm $3,000
South Coast Beach Scene, oil on board, 16x50cm $3,000
Spring Blossoms, oil on board, 21x12cm $1,650
Spring Blossoms, oil on board, 21x12cm $1,650
Surf Beach, oil on board, 42x101cm $7,500
Surf Beach, oil on board, 42x101cm $7,500
Swan Lake, Cudmirrah, oil on board, 18x15cm $1,650
Swan Lake, Cudmirrah, oil on board, 18x15cm $1,650
The Distant Brindabellas, oil on board, 16x50cm $3,000
The Distant Brindabellas, oil on board, 16x50cm $3,000
The Murrumbidgee, oil on board, 13x9cm $750 (SOLD)
The Murrumbidgee, oil on board, 13x9cm $750 (SOLD)
Twilight, oil on board, 10x27cm $1,650
Twilight, oil on board, 10x27cm $1,650