Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Karla Knight

Karla Knight in her studio

Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to announce Universal Remote, a solo exhibition of new work for artist Karla Knight, running from November 3 – December 22, 2023.  A solo display of Knight’s work will be held concurrently at The Art Show (ADAA) at the Park Avenue Armory from November 1–5.

Over the past four decades, Knight has executed her idiosyncratic visons of UFO related imagery with the stubborn persistence of an artist unbeholden to the dictates of art world trends, although contemporary interest in spiritualist art has certainly offered a favorable context. Knight’s relationship with what might be broadly termed “the occult” is rooted in her upbringing; her father authored publications on, among other subjects, UFOs and ghosts, and her grandfather, also a writer, penned a book about afterlife communication.

Her solo exhibition at the Aldrich Museum in 2021-22 expanded Knight’s recognition markedly and came at the same time she was beginning to experiment with weathered feedbags from the 1940s and ’50s, attracted to their creamy color and the traces they bore of past lives. She calls these works “tapestries,” as she embroiders the fabric and embellishes it with a combination of acrylic paint pens, vinyl paint, colored pencil, and graphite.

Her new Universal Remote series of drawings and tapestries riffs on the notion of channels with central motifs inspired by anachronistic television sets that hail from the early decades of the Cold War; a time when the frequency of UFO sightings was a source of great national anxiety.

The tapestry Universal Remote 1, 2022, is painted with a boxy television-like form—or “receiver,” a word the artist relishes—bearing her cryptic characters along with circles that suggest various dials and buttons: channel selectors, speakers, fine tuners, picture expanders. A large, rounded shape marked with blue crosshatching and abstract designs, some of which resemble yellow eyes with slivered pupils, overtakes the “screen.” At the mandala’s heart is Knight’s returning volumetric orb, here coronated with concentric circles. This celestial sphere’s significance denoted by its centrality to the composition, becomes a kind of universal picture, open to an endlessly expanding universe of possible readings.

Karla Knight’s work is currently featured in the group exhibition, Sightings, at the Sun Valley Museum of Art (ID), and is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), among others. A second edition of her Aldrich Museum exhibition catalogue, Navigator, with added images of recent works and a new essay by Cassie Packard will be available on November 1, 2023.

Karla Knight (b. 1958) Big Night Vision, 2023 Flashe, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton 46 x 73 inches
Karla Knight (b. 1958) Delphi 3, 2023 Flashe, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton 33.5 x 30 inches
Karla Knight (b. 1958) Universal Remote 1, 2022 Flashe, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton 68 x 49 inches.
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