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Art was in Ben Knight’s life early but it wasn’t his focus. Instead, a seed was planted that would take many years to sprout; “My grandmother, Florence Singer, was a teacher at the Art Institute in Chicago,” he recalls. “She worked with kids a lot, as an art therapist, and wrote one of the first books on art therapy. [She] would pick me up from school several times per week and give me art projects. But I didn’t really think much of art as a kid.”
"I was a jock and I liked sports. But then I went to college and I started to read more, and that opened up a different viewpoint on life and the world — and myself. And at that point I decided I really liked painting. I didn't have any reason to think I could do it but I just started doing it."
At the Art Students League of New York, Knight started working with well known abstract painter Larry Poons. At one of his first classes, he spent a long time setting up his work space, and Poons questioned him. "Larry said, 'What the (expletive) are you waiting for? Are you gonna paint today?' And as an athlete, I really responded to that more direct sort of coaching. Typically in the art instruction world it's much softer, like, 'Oh I love that pink.'"
"It took a while to marinate all the things I learned about how color works, how it interacts. Like what happens when you throw paint, drip paint, use a palette knife, use a big brush, or a wet brush, or a dry brush...all of these different aspects of putting together texture and layering color and creating something that has extreme complexity. More like a sculpture from a two dimensional vantage point."
Speed, light, color and texture represent the content of my observations of the world around us. All essential painting reveals and reflects on these subjects. This is my focus as a painter and these concepts drive the character of my work. It is the ability to capture time with the beauty of color and texture that makes for a great picture and my work is meant to capture your eye, lead it to see color and light in ways that are unfamiliar. And, because these works are bold gestures of life, they tend to explode off the canvas more as a 3 dimensional sculpture than traditional paintings. Contrast moves one’s eye and one’s mind. Painting that, consistently, is my goal.
1998 B.A. degree, Northwestern University, Evanston, Il (English Lit)
1998-2000 Art Institute of Chicago, School of Continuing Studies
2001 Cooper Union School of Continuing Studies
2002-2005 The Art Students League of New York (Studied under Larry Poons)
November 2014 Alizarin Gallery, solo show, Durham, NC
June 2006 - Present Chef & the Farmer, Kinston, NC
March 2005 Field Trip Factory, Chicago, IL
March 2005 Art Students League of New York, group show
December 2004 Pecan Community Bakery, 130 Franklin St., New York, NY
October 2004 The Coach House, 13 Cornelia St.
August 2004 A.I.R. Gallery, group show, 511 W. 25th St., New York, NY
August 2004 Bar 288 Elizabeth St. Art Wall
March 2004 Art Students League of New York, group show
June 2003 Go Club on 8th Ave NYC Multimedia Show
November 2002 5th Stop Art Fair in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY