Stephen Knapp

seeing the light. by Jeff Herrity Artist

Even though John and I specifically went to the Naples Museum of Art to see the Nevelson sculptures, we also walked through their collection and other special exhibits. For such a small museum, they have a great permanent collection and some fun temporary exhibits. Stephen Knapp's Lightpaintings exhibit blew me away. Because I'm so fascinated right now with utilizing light and shadows in my work, seeing another artist (not like he or I are even remotely the first...) who is using organic shapes and a light source to complete the work made me very excited. I usually gauge how much work moves me by how quickly I think to myself "I want to do that too." Of course I would never blatantly copy another artists work, unless for purely learning reasons and then I would never show the work as my own. Duh.  But I like to think how that specific artists work, and statement about the work, intersect with my own and then what I could use to 'make it mine' or enhance something I am working on.

Stephen Knapp

I had already been thinking about how I can make my porcelain surfaces more reflective and how the reflection would interact with the viewer and the piece. I remember from my last contract in CORE studio last semester that I wanted my shards to hang from the ceiling (or from a structure or whatever) and then have bits of mirror on them and when the projector was shining, the room with dance with the light. Thankfully my studio instructor Lisa kept reigning in my flood of ideas and I ended up with the floor piece and the wall work.

These lightpaintings are also a revelation to me because as much as I would like to be a master painter, the chances of that happening in my lifetime are slim. This has made me think how I can apply my own skills and 'vision' and make paintings of my own, but with materials that are more familiar to me.  Even before seeing this show my sketchbook was quickly becoming filled with ideas for work along these lines and seeing Mr. Knapp's work has inspired me to go even further - to 'get dirty' with the ideas.  It is sometimes frustrating being in Florida for the summer for me because I cannot act on these clay urges as quickly as I could at home in my brand spankin' new studio. (What's even worse is that the one clay/ceramic studio in town where I COULD get my hands dirty is now a Jiu-Jitsu place - SOOOOO not the same experience.)

lightpaintings by Stephen Knapp

Seeing his work also makes me think alot about how the shadows will be cast from the piece. His work is often mounted directly to the wall with brackets and then also mounted on boards/MDF perhaps, and then mounted on the wall. for obvious reasons, the directly mounted pieces of glass have a much bigger impact visually and the scale is almost overwhelming. The 'smaller' pieces that are mounted on wood bothered me at first because their was an additional shadow cast from the mounting. Looking back I realize that those pieces are just as strong to me because I really like the 'frame' that the shadow creates. Very interesting effect.

color color!

One other thing that I struggle with in my shadow work and that this exhibit confirmed to me is that the light source CAN be integrated into the piece and not hidden. In my work I did a combination of hidden light (projections) and the flashlight on the floor. Being in art school often means that even the smallest decisions are going to be attacked if there isn't some deep hidden meaning to their inclusion. In my case, I sometimes just want something shiny and pretty. having a flashlight on the floor had no hidden meaning (but I could bullshit one if I had to...something along the lines of 'the flashlight is the ghost hunters friend and in this case...blah blah blah) No, it was just the light source, and that's ok.

I'm sad that the museum closed and I couldn't go back to buy the show book, which isn't on Amazon, and to just sit in the room and spend time with these pieces.