Katherine Knight "Models And Mottos"

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Katherine Knight "Models And Mottos"
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Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects says
For the past decade Katharine Knight has been best known for her remarkable documentary films. Annie Pootogook, Koop, Spring & Arnaud and Strange & Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island, made in collaboration with Marcia Connolly and Site Media Inc., have each been particular explorations of people and place that intertwine the dependencies of space and artistic sensibility. In the midst of this award-winning film career, Knight has also continued a photo practice that continues her documentary interests and pays respectful homage to the folk artisans of the Maritimes where she spends part of the year. The images she produces are based on collected model boats and needlepoint motto embroideries that have their own histories and inspirations but which in Knight's photographic capture also become pictorial allegories in their own right. The overlapped frames on the mottos are reminders of crosses and they underscore the often religious sourcing of the phrases that, in their day, were truly phrases to live by. We read and see them now from a certain distance but with Knight it is never an ironic distance but rather a seeking fascination at the mindset that spun the intricate and laborious handwork. The model boats inevitably also find their way back to the water. They have left home and workshop behind to take their place in a natural world of weathered action yet the shifts in scale from miniaturized boat to open landscape carry a subtle dislocation that makes the setting unsettling with what seem newly unreliable horizons. The largest image, Ship Model, Artifact #1990.0029.001, is different in kind. It is an institutional model built for the National Research Centre in Ottawa to test airflow on Navy cruisers being modernized with helicopter landing decks. Photographed with a palette of blacks, greys and spectral white highlights, Knight's image is not so much a document as an invocation of surrounding dread, a dread that the mottos implicitly hold in abeyance with words.
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By: Richard Rhodes Dupont Projects

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