Monday, February 16, 2009

Richard Knight at WPCA.

Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, we are featuring a special two-day exhibition by Milwaukee-based painter, Richard Knight.

Many of you might know Richard better as the director of Tory Folliard Gallery in the Milwaukee's Third Ward. Yet, he is also an accomplished artist with nearly 20-year exhibition history in the Midwest. WPCA show can be considered a special sneak peak preview before Richard's solo exhibition at the James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in Madison, scheduled for the summer 2009.

I have known Richard's work for a while and I must say – entirely on the personal note – that I am really looking forward to this show. I have always thought of Richard as the painter's painter: an artist who is highly skilled and sensitive to the language of his medium. Richard's gestural works irresitibly evoke lyrical abstraction of the late 1950s and early 1960s; Cy Twomby – probably more than anyone else – comes to mind when you look at this work. That's because so many of Richard's mark resemble attempts at writing: energetic scribbles that try to articulate something that just eludes words.

In a sense, Richard's elegant work can be seen as a heritage of modernism and if you are a skeptic, it is hard not to ask what it might mean in the messiness of today's art landscape.

What I love about the upcoming exhibition is that it actually helps you answer this question. Aside of his mixed-media works on paper, Richard will also be showing two of his found-object sculptures, which cast a completely different light on his two-dimensional work. These sculptural objects are built out of variety of common, everyday materials: the stuff that accumulates in the artist’s studio as refuse and waste. The materials are utterly humble and ordinary: – wax, tar, wires and paper, but they are juxtaposed with one another in poetic, unexpected ways.

These rich assemblages made out of discarded materials have a dual function: they are art objects in their own right, but often they also become sources for the new two-dimensional works on paper. Together these works create a visual language that documents intuitive and tactile process of making sense out of the world. As opposed to modernist painting so concerned with itself and its own means and ends, Richard's work is entirely of the humble, material stuff we live in and with.

Exhibition hours:
Friday, March 6: 5 pm – 8 pm (artist's reception)
Saturday, March 7, noon – 4 pm

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