Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TAG Interviews Michael Knight

Michael Knight's current show at TAG is titled Superstitious.  
Michael Knight, Kitty Noir, Scratchboard, 8 x 10"  
We asked him a few questions:  

Tell us about the theme of your show.  
I planned to investigate various aspects of superstition, pulling that concept out of mystery and darkness into the light of recognition. Looking for a medium to help transform my idea, I came upon scratchboard. It seemed the perfect material as white imagery is pulled from the blackness of the board.
Michael Knight, Interloper, Scratchboard, 11 x 14"
What is scratchboard?
Scratchboard is a Masonite covered with a smooth white clay/gesso surface which has been sprayed with a coat of black India ink. The black surface is scratched to reveal the white underneath. Doing so produces line imagery similar to pen and ink drawings. It is similar in that lines, hatching and cross-hatching create value. It is different in that it is a subtractive process where more marks create lighter values instead of darker ones. Hint: Scratch slowly and lightly. If when removing the ink with a sharp X-acto blade, the clay is not gouged deeply, it may be replaced and the imagery redrawn.

Have you had to adapt your palette or composition to accommodate this medium?
At first working with an achromatic pallet seemed restrictive, however I discovered myriad subtleties and differences in the gradations that exist between black and white.
Michael Knight, Crow, Scratchboard,  5 x 7"

Did you miss using color?
It is possible to add color to black and white scratchboard; however its black and white matrix makes a statement in which the addition may seem jarring. I find that color must be used judiciously.
Michael Knight, Saint Dunstain's Revenge, Scratchboard, 12 x 12"
From small to monumental, is there a scale that you prefer to work in?
In the past I have created bigger pieces in the four by six foot range and found them great fun. I now work at a small to medium scale… 9x12 to 30x40. I do this to accommodate my current work space and a growing art storage problem. While strong concept and quality craftsmanship fill my current work, I have come to believe that to the “art elite” size matters. In my opinion, larger pieces tend to claim undeserved importance based mostly on their bigger size.
Michael Knight, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, Scratchboard, 12 x 12"
How or why is a made by hand, one of a kind art piece important?
As an ex-student recently pointed out, handmade art establishes a one-on-one connection between artists and their audience, and that this direct communication relates insights into human experiences, identity, culture and ideas.

What would you like your viewers to take away from their encounter with your artwork?
Besides appreciating the aesthetics involved, I would like them to question or affirm personally held ideas, notions and assumptions about their world views on art and culture.
Michael Knight, Fingers Crossed, Scratchboard, 9 x 12"
Have you had any surprises putting together this show?
I started this series as an intellectual exercise. I did not consider myself superstitious. In the process, I have come to question that. As I worked, I became more emotionally connected to my work. I ended up scrapping a piece that I was doing about “Voodoo” due to an unshakable feeling of foreboding that came over me as I worked on it. Even now something lingers.

When you believe in things that you don't understand, Then you suffer, Superstition ain't the way”.
– Stevie Wonder.

Michael's work will be on view until March 19, 2016.

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