Susan Watson Knight, a Melbourne based visual artist, studied Arts and Education at La Trobe University and Fine Arts at RMIT. Her preferred medium at that time was paint. However the past decade has seen a more diverse range of materials including botanical specimens, mirrored and fluorescent laser cut acrylic, manipulated (found) photographic images and candle wax.
Knight’s most recent collection of works, Lit from Within (colour works) marks a return to paint on cloth and the unusual synthesis of pigment with photography. The result from the Melbourne-based visual artist is a kinetic series of works that unites the use of form and repetition with unexpected colour harmonies.
The title of the new series takes its name from an exhibition of Amish quilts held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997. Knight’s encounter with these works was seminal; she was drawn as much to the history of the quilts as to their strict geometry and vibrant colour structure. The quilts were the focused artistic expression of individual women as objects of beauty and purpose; carefully designed, meticulously stitched and then gifted to family members.
Knight has responded to the precise geometries, delicate surfaces and luminous colour harmonies sewn by the Amish quilters. The quilting shapes in her new series have been exaggerated and take on an emblematic or symbolic characteristic, at times communicating solemnity and emotional stillness. The edges of the geometric shapes are softened to such an extent that some surfaces engage in optical trickery, but in every instance colour maintains the controlling hand, dictating the mood, potency and energy transmitted by these images.
In the Cut between the Space series (blue works), Susan has harnessed the cyanotype process to examine and reinterpret everyday objects. The cyanotype, a light sensitive printing process used to copy architectural and mechanical drawings, has been taken up to capture commonplace designs. Susan examines the form and function of household items, but she is also interested in the unique attachment we have to our personal possessions. These objects have the ability to connect us to a particular time and place in our memories and imaginings.