V.5. Katherine Knight

'Family Matters'

Paintings & collage by Washington artist, Katherine Knight | July 19 - 27th

"Becoming a mom in 2015 prompted dramatic changes to my slow and laborious painting practice. The first pieces I made after my son’s birth were small collages. During his short naps, I referenced the brilliant colors and exuberant patterns of his belongings to capture the sheer banana-pants joy and wonder I felt in his presence. I had long been searching for a way to incorporate patterns into my work, but struggled to do it in a way that felt meaningful. His arrival provided the perfect opportunity to merge the aesthetic I’d been after with my chosen materials.

"As a mom, I also lost my long-held fear of hurting or embarrassing someone with my art, as I no longer had the emotional bandwidth to absorb negativity or spare feelings as I once had. This empowered me to begin working with a number of difficult family narratives and dynamics I’d been avoiding. To balance this content with the bright colors and gentle imagery that felt so hard-won, I developed a language of personal symbols based on the plants, insects, and other details I associate with family haunts. I use elements of place as a stand-in for the human relationships I’m analyzing. Each element holds a personal meaning, but also has a folkloric, cultural, literary, or medicinal meaning. Using this imagery allows me to dissect relationships in a way that the veils the specifics to all but those in my closest circle, while still suggesting an evocative emotional climate that is accessible to others. "

When she's not being a super mom, Katherine Knight is a professor of Fine Art from Montgomery College in Maryland. See more of her work here

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