The creativity of John Knap is motivational as well as pictorial and originates from his association with other established artists. His paintings reveal another world which is distant but which resembles Slovenia and Australia. Thoughtfully worked human masks are evident in the tiny cuts, while various layers show universal characteristics which comprise the pleasant and uncomfortable, the beautiful and the ugly aspects of our lives. Knap’s meaningful and social creativity encourages the viewer to step into and witness the artist’s creative world.
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist
Melbourne artist, John Knap, studied Graphic Design then completed a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Art teaching. John has continued to exhibit his own work while teaching art for the past 12 years.
His first solo exhibition, Fragments of Class in August 2000, was a sell-out and featured large acrylic works using painted layers of iconic black & white images and vibrant primary colours.
Since then John has had many successful exhibitions, featuring a variety of mixed media. As he explains “I’ve taken hundreds of individual pieces of opulent wallpaper and woven them, before covering with shellac to give them the aged look of richly woven, historic tapestries.
Faces are also a prominent feature of John’s narrative. Using them as a base image, he then applies colour and lavish wallpaper, which are placed to reveal facets of the face below. Finally, layers of shellac are added to give the appearance of old-fashioned hoarding.
Part of John’s current body of work is to use colour photocopies to create small, iconic images of faces. Some of these are famous, some everyday and others religious. They have a distortion to them that make them incredibly interesting while layers of shellac add more depth.
John does private commissions while continuing to produce work for his next exhibition.
John says: “The beauty of art is perception. It’s the perception of the artist who created the work.
It’s the perception of the observer. It’s the perception of a crowd of people.
The beauty of art is perception. What exactly happened to those within each work? What do we see? We are only really limited by our own imagination and experiences, as to how we read the narrative of an artwork.
The beauty of art is perception. What is it that we are looking at, this time?
Are we witnessing pleasure? Pain? Anger? Bliss? Plotting? Scheming? Who are these people?
They are strangely familiar yet from an entirely different world. We feel a connection, yet stand at a safe distance. We want to help, yet are shocked at what we see. How much do we allow ourselves to be effected? How far do we let ourselves in?
In my earlier collections of work, I have utilized the image of the Geisha. An image of power, control and mystery. Previously, I have explored the beauty of this creature, focusing on the perfection that
these women strive to achieve; masking the vulnerability and innocence underneath layers of carefully applied paint, make up and tradition. These images were then hidden under layers of paint, wallpaper or other images, heightening their mystique. These were women ready to perform their duties.
With my latest collection of work, I have further investigated the Geisha, peeling back the layers of make up and exposing the vulnerable and often jaded individual underneath. I am exploring both the beauty and pain felt by those who have chosen this path in life, regardless of the reason.
While there is colour, there is darkness; pleasure and pain; acceptance and fear.
Some are angry. Some are sad. Some are quiet. Some are resilient. One thing is for certain; they have performed their duties and have done so with the dignity often associated with the Geisha.
Some are new to the experience while some are certainly seasoned. Throughout it all, their masks remain intact, no matter how disheveled they have become. They are all tragically beautiful and beautifully tragic.
Who falls into which category? You decide. The beauty of art is perception.
2008: Jackman Gallery, St Kilda, Melbourne
2008: Incinerator Arts Complex, Moonee Ponds, Melbourne
2008: The Makeshift Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne
2007/2008 Incube8r Gallery, Collingwood, Melbourne
2007: ‘RITUALS’ – Jackman Gallery, St Kilda, Melbourne
2006/07/08: Filter, Fitzroy, Melbourne 2006: Jackman Gallery, St Kilda, Melbourne
2005/2006: FreeStyle Tout, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
2005: ‘ATTRACTION’ – SODA Gallery, Avalon, Sydney
2004: Solo exhibition – FreeStyle Tout, Rosalie, Brisbane
2002: ‘DIS-COVER-ED’ – Lychee Lounge, West End, Brisbane
2000: ‘Fragments of Class’ – Moray CafŽ, New Farm, Brisbane
2004: ‘ArtForce’ initiative – Traffic Signal Box Public Art – New Farm, Brisbane
2004 ‘Rosalie Art Show’ – FreeStyle Tout, Rosalie, Brisbane
2004 ‘Rainbow Chasers’ – WiseArt Gallery, Brisbane City
2004 ‘Abused Child Trust Exhibition’ – Riverside Centre, Brisbane City
2004 ‘Artshow 542’ – Powerhouse Museum , New Farm, Brisbane
2000 – 2003: ‘ArtForce’ initiative – Traffic Signal Box Public Art – Brisbane City
2000 – 2003: ‘ArtScape’ – Padua Collage, Kedron, Brisbane
1999: ‘Pride Exhibition’ – Fireworks Gallery, Newstead, Brisbane
2008: Short listed – ‘Melbourne on Canvas’
2004: Overall Runner Up – ArtForce initiative
2003: People’s Choice – ‘ArtScape’
2003: Highly Commended – ArtForce initiative
2000 – 2002: Highly Commended – ArtForce initiative
Artwork is included in various private and commercial collections both nationally and internationally.