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Michael Kindred Knight’s paintings represent complex pictorial situations that resynthesize historical idioms. They are a unique genre-bending marriage of artifice and the disruption of certain codes of mark making, built upon a dissection and repurposing of modernist abstract strategies and motifs. Neither strictly landscape based nor pure abstraction—with allusions to Schutz, Hodgkins, Diebenkorn, and Scully—Knight’s paintings inhabit an in-between space that is as much about the formal appreciation of and relationship to other paintings as it is about undermining the logic of any specific style or historical program.
Knight uses color to establish a range of artificial constructs where a sense of place, time, light, atmosphere, gravity, and organic and architectonic structures are equally active. Composed of adjacent and overlapping layers of wet-on-wet and dry brushstrokes, Knight’s paint application is direct and accessible, by turn revealing and concealing. Each painting looks like a complete, unified whole where shapes appear to be spatially connected. They also seem to drift apart, free of one another’s influence. Forceful yet lacking volume, their dimensionality is implied and interrupted, establishing a fleeting sense of harmony.
These elements conspire to create a seemingly legible space that is, for all its technical and compositional nuance, unsettled and contradictory, yet strangely familiar. This artifice functions as an entry point into a story where the ritualization and predictability of temporal experience is shuffled—a place that is informed by our experience of the present, and especially, a present framed by an experience of oversaturation. Luminous and beautiful, there is a similarity to these works, like receding windows that continuously open onto a distant horizon but never in full view—or a painting that frustratingly eludes meaning.
Michael Kindred Knight (b. 1977, Portland, Oregon) received an MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2010 and BA from Western Washington University in 2004. He has exhibited in Richmond, VA; Phoenix, AZ; Tempe, AZ; San Francisco, CA; Indio, CA; Claremont, CA; and Seattle, WA. His work has been reviewed and featured in The Los Angeles Times, New American Paintings, and The Huffington Post among other publications. Knight was the recipient of the Claremont Graduate University's President's Art Award in 2010, the Karl and Beverly Benjamin Fellowship in Art in 2010, and the Walker/Parker Memorial Fellowship in 2009. He lives and works in Los Angeles.