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Sue Knight


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halk and flint series (iv)

rice paper and oil

156.2 cm x 156.2 cm


Sue Knight has a long standing and deep seated connection with British modernist painters and their work has informed, and often provoked, her own. Her early work used the fluidity and transparency of water colour, and this technique can still clearly be seen in her oil based work of today, both in the use of glazes and in the layering of paint and collage. The subtle and gentle colours reflect the aesthetic of the landscape it responds to.

Working from her studio on Eel Pie Island in London, she has exhibited both in London and nationally, and her work is held in private collections throughout England, Ireland and Australia.  Having studied for her MA at the University of East London in 2000-2002, she then completed her Professional Practice Doctorate in Fine Art there in 2008. Her doctoral report is entitled ‘Experiencing the land: transformation and revelation’, and focuses on exploring the philosophical and psychological, as well as the technical, processes of her painting. She refers to Carl Gustav Carus, who says in Nine Letters on Landscape Painting:

‘Stand then upon the summit of the mountain, and gaze over the long rows of hills. Observe the passage of streams and all the magnificence that opens up before your eyes; and what feeling grips you? ...You lose yourself in boundless spaces... your  I vanishes, you are nothing…’

She explains that this psychological response to landscape is fundamental to her practice, as is exploring the place of painting rather than language in giving a voice to the ‘unsayable’. As Wittgenstein says in the final line of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus:

‘What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.’

The dominance of the land and sea as the impetus for her work has also posed a number of interesting questions, not least the tension between figuration and abstraction with which her work is concerned: often seen as the presence of an horizon line or its absence. From the initial response to the landscape through solitary walking on the coastal paths and moor land of the more desolate parts of Britain, she moves to the equally solitary place of the studio in order to transform that response. The work then develops different themes: the peace and stillness of the empty spaces, or the small and closely observed imagery seen from the corner of the eye.

chalk and flint series (v)

various tissue papers

156.2 cm x 185.4 cm