The exhibit titled Accumulations/Interruptions, installations and drawings by Eric Kniss, opens Friday, January 22 with a reception from 5-7pm and a gallery talk at 6pm. The exhibit runs through February 20, 2016. Routine gallery hours are 10am-5pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday. There is no charge to attend the reception or to visit the galleries and everyone is welcome.
A full-time instructor of art at Bridgewater College, Kniss holds a BFA in Ceramics and an MFA in Sculpture. This past summer, he was granted a fellowship at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences in Georgia where he concentrated on this new collection of drawings which culminate in this solo exhibition.
The exhibit is sponsored by Dr. Earlynn J. Miller and Donald Albright and is also partly funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Artist’s Statement: My work as an artist has coalesced into two distinct categories of work: sculpture and drawing. In sculpture, I work with non-traditional materials in unconventional ways, and I make drawings through processes of disruption or interruption in order to undermine my own expectations about drawing. I have viewed these modes of working as autonomous in relation to each other. Over the past few years, however, I have become increasingly aware of both visual and procedural similarities between my drawings and installations of sifted kaolin (clay dust). In both the clay dust sculpture and collage drawings, I implement various kinds of interruptions that contribute to the resulting forms. The work in this show puts forward my most recent engagement in questions about how drawing and sculpture, as autonomous practices might inform, influence, or reform each other.
The key concerns in my work with Kaolin have to do with notions of the value of physical labor, the accumulation of material as evidence of time, and challenging prevailing assumptions about material, its uses, and hierarchies of value. My engagement with this material is motivated out of a desire to discover ways in which it might visually reveal (or challenge assumptions of) its own characteristics. I accomplish this by implementing the simple but concentrated and repetitive physical activity of sifting. I am interested in the capacity of physical labor to generate a visceral sense of connectedness to place. As a function of cumulative kinetic and material trace, the work is insinuated upon the space it occupies.
I am interested in drawings that evoke a sense of dimensional space and then confound that perception by underscoring the flatness of the drawing’s surface. I intentionally undermine the readability of specific space by repeatedly enacting disruptive actions like tearing or cutting and reassembling. I am interested in the resulting ‘place-ness’ of the drawing that emerges as a result. When a drawing evokes a sense of space, I believe it has the capacity to arouse an association of place. These drawings actualize accumulations of light and shadow as formative material through the process of tracing.