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Artist John Arden Knight

John Knight received his M.F.A. in painting from American University, and a B.F.A. in painting from Indiana University. His work has been included in Biennial exhibitions at the Portland Museum of Art and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art.

Nationally, he has been awarded a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center, and residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Vermont Studio Center. In Maine he has been awarded residencies at Great Spruce Head Island, Acadia National Park, and Monhegan Island. He was the Maine Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellow for 2007.

He is represented by Moss Galleries in Falmouth.

"My current paintings depict common plants and their environments. They also describe a dialogue between the sky and the earth. As the plants send out flowers and shoots, growing higher, they become the go-between connecting the earth and sky, and the plants themselves intermingle with their surroundings. I have let these often small weeds become monumental in my paintings, running the whole vertical length of my compositions, uniting solid ground below with atmosphere above. I have encountered these plants in fields, beaches and on roadsides. On an aesthetic level, I notice the color and shape of radiating petals on a flower with a specific number and formation, but observing the whole plant closely and identifying it through books opens up other meanings relating to its use as food, medicine, or textile/building material. I welcome the diversity of tenacious weeds that grow without conscious planting or landscaping. Their surprises contrast with gridded plots of daffodils or tulips, and the vast, uniform orchards or crop fields that fill abundant but homogenous produce bins in supermarkets across the country. Dark storm clouds moving in or out above the landscapes creates drama in the paintings. It also hints at things like climate change, and the resilient plants I depict often grow in disturbed land, sprouting up after a storm or a burn. They can be a symbol of hope, putting down roots and a visual display after some turmoil."

Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from) and your background in the arts.

I grew up in Indiana, and started painting in college at Indiana University. I fell in love with painting outdoors, and would go to the limestone quarries and farmland in and around Bloomington (Indiana). I continued painting outdoors after college when I moved with several artist friends to New Mexico (Silver City), near the Gila National Forest.

What kind of work are you currently making?

I am still doing landscape-oriented work, but I'm illustrating wildflowers and roadside plants I encounter in yards, sidewalks, empty fields and nearby parks.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

I've been in the habit of coming downstairs to my home studio with coffee at 5:30am and working for several hours on small acrylic paintings on paper at a table. My schedule and temperament tends to allow for shorter bursts of work almost every day rather than all-day studio sessions.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

I'm looking at a Phillip Guston book from a recent show I went to see at the National Gallery of Art. I'm drawn to his large late (figurative) paintings that manage to draw on and represent comics, current events, anxiety, loss, personal history, and his studio practice (the act of painting).

I'm reading Indigenous Continent by Pekka Hamalainen.v

Where can we find more of your work?

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