Kris Knight is a Canadian painter whose work examines performance in relation to the construction, portrayal and boundaries of sexual and asexual identities. Drawing from personal histories of rural escapism through imagination, Knight paints disenchanted characters that are lost between youth and adulthood; they hide their secrets, but desperately long to let them go. His mythical and ambiguous portraits are a synthesis of fantasy and real-world memory; they tiptoe between the dichotomies of pretty and menace, hunter and hunted, innocence and the erotic.
Within their apparent ambiguity, Knight’s sensitive paintings and portraits evoke a series of shifting emotions, themes and experiences – from loneliness, competiveness, numbness, loss, and love, to the need to seek attention, the need to put on airs and perform, the need to cope and the need for privacy. Some works are dark and melancholic; others are tinged with notes of humor and sensuality, sweetness, elegance and light.
Throughout Knight's professional practice, he has created thematic bodies of work that reference historical notions of regality, mysticism, romanticism and symbolism. He often skews these concepts with contemporary interests in androgyny, fashion, psychotropic alterations and the post-modern gaze. Knight's lustrous classical cum illustrative figurative paintings, stride between a contradicting palette of sensual primaries and ghostly pastels, reflecting his adoration for 18th Century French portraiture and Polaroid film.
Kris Knight (b. 1980, Canada) is a Toronto based artist who received his Associate degree from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCADU) in 2003. His work has been shown internationally over the past decade including solo and group exhibition and art fair features in Toronto, New York, Miami, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Los Angeles and has been featured in numerous publications such as Interview Magazine, Vogue, Public Art, Harper’s Bazaar, The Globe and Mail, WWD, The Miami New Times and L’Officiel Hommes. His work is included in numerous public and private collections including the Royal Bank of Canada, The Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, The Oppenheimer Collection, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 21C Museum of Contemporary Art, The Agnes Etherington Art Centre of Queen’s University, and corporate collections like Gucci, with whom the artist collaborated with in 2014/15 on numerous projects including a dark and mystical reimagining of the house’s iconic floral pattern dubbed “Flora Knight”.