Knox Martin - WOMAN: BLACK AND WHITE PAINTINGS
White light radiates from the paintings in Knox Martinʼs exhibition “Woman: Black and White,” shown at Woodward Gallery, September 15 – November 13, 2010.
For almost sixty years white has been a metaphor of light and an integral part of Knoxʼs art.
Now, white illuminates not only the surface of Knoxʼs paintings but the depth of a masterʼs lifelong dedication to creation.
“My subject matter is creation.” Knox proclaims. “Creation is man made.”
A large painting titled Woman with Red Shoes at the center of the exhibition, calls to mind Hans Christian Andersenʼs fairy tale The Red Shoes in which the heroine wished for and finally acquired The Red Shoes. Then, she was not able to stop the rhythm of her feet in the Red Shoes as they danced the song of life.
As in the Red Shoes fairy tale, Knoxʼs lines and shapes never stop dancing to the rhythm of life while the eyes of his heroine peer over the articulated edges in each of the canvases watching with expressions of amusement, discernment, pathos and looking.
The lines, shapes and forms in Knoxʼs paintings expand upon the woman painted through the ages by past masters Titian to Cézanne in the 20th Century, then Picasso, Miró, Matisse and de Kooning, all influences seen in Knoxʼs paintings, Woman: Black and White.
In Woman with Flowers, Woman Knower, Woman Amused, Mata Hari, Sally and Mary Ellen, Knox has participated in what he calls “the shattering penetration of shape-making.” He is his favorite thing to say from the northwest Indian: “hero trickster raven shapeshifter”. He has created an allegorical space of poetry full of razor blades that cut to the quick of creation itself. Alpha art or true art doesnʼt belong asinvisible decoration, background muzak, Knox explains. True art is disturbing, not in the sense of being ugly, but it moves one towards new concepts of states of being. New boards are lit up never seen before!
In Knoxʼs paintings, Woman: Black and White, a neck arrives from a knee and this gives birth to other shapes; two sides of a face interlock on the flat field of the canvas for the first time in art history. The so-called background is the other side of the face. Arms, legs, faces, buttocks and torsos become metaphors outside the realm of anatomy to meet the demands of the canvas, giving new sparkling image a new name---denying all space AND dictated by art.
Knoxʼs paintings are revelation. Large contrasted to small, thick to thin, dark to light, curve to straight, all rhyme with the verticals, horizontals and diagonals that expand the edges of the canvas. The variation of lines, shapes, brush strokes and accents of color dance, interchange directions, repeat themselves, reverse, oppose one another, become adjacent but diverse, finally to transform and to instruct consciousness.
In Knoxʼs art, beauty is creation. It is sometimes like the song of a robin and sometimes it is fury. Always, forms are born from one another and exist in a relation to the whole according to the demands of the canvas that remains ever- changing, without closure, and filled with "the dawn of the absolute”.