Interview: Richard Knight @ WPCA

Mar. 5, 2009
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Milwaukee's Richard Knight has been producing art for over 25 years. This Indiana University MFA graduate concentrates on abstracts developed from objects he often constructs that form his drawings, and afterwards his paintings, which vary in size from 9 feet by 10 feet to smaller scale pieces. This March 6th and 7th a special two-day exhibition at Walkers Point Center for the Arts features new work created by Knight. At an artist's reception on Friday, 5:00-8:00 p.m., Knight presents his unique and unconventional views on art along with this work.

Q: Do you have a special place where you prepare for new shows?
A: I have a small studio at my home. I used to have a larger studio and have open studio shows right there, but my studio is too small now. This is my second show at Walkers Point over the years, and it's more formal than the former shows. About 25 pieces will be in the Walkers Point show.

Q: What's the basis for your abstract paintings?
A: My paintings are based on objects and the drawings, the making of objects. I base the abstracts from found objects and others I construct. Then there's no set procedure for my artwork. The drawings are much more open ended, a contrast between the objects, which defy gravity. The paintings are an attempt to combine both [the objects and their drawings].

Q: What do you enjoy about your own art?
A: Inventing objects is what I enjoy. Then encountering the artifice of art and takingit apart. I dismantle the object, and the open-endedness makes people uncomfortable. You frame an idea⎯and I'm questioning the frame the idea is in.

Q: You also sell art. What do you enjoy about that?
A: You look at a painting and they want it clarified and delineated. Or identified in terms of art history, or a historical reference. Also the techniques. Techniques can be discussed in terms of how the ideas are put together or the techniques that are used to create the painting. But what I try to see is the spirit of the labor, what motivates the person to do what they do. It's often intuitive⎯a non-tangible thing.

Q: Does this affect your art?
A: [It reflects on] The thinking that takes place to create art. The challenge to keep engaged in the world and creativity. I work everyday in the morning. And it's a challenge to keep that interesting and not routine. To keep the energy in your work and maintain it over later years.

Q: Why did you choose art to engage in the creative process?
A: Simply because I can't dance, I can't write, and I can't sing!


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