John Knuth: Elevated Uncertainty

23 August – 28 September 2013

For his show entitled Elevated Uncertainty, John Knuth has created a series of paintings and Polaroid photographs using emergency smoke flares and Mylar thermo blankets. The show explores the idea of chance, uncertainty, and the unknown as an amorphous, transcendent place. The word “elevated” in the title is used as a term for being high and the word “uncertainty” as a place of the unknown.

The series of new paintings are created in Denmark in the days before the exhibition. Using the orange pigment from emergency smoke flares to stain the canvas, John Knuth creates abstract paintings, each of which draws a beautiful range of highly formalized imagery.

The Polaroid images are of lit emergency smoke flares, which become abstracted against the black night sky. Thus the images transcend their simple materials and making, and evoke shapes and themes of landscapes, volcanoes, isolated islands, or nebulas in outer space.

By the use of basic items of disaster preparedness: The smoke of an emergency flare, John Knuth explores the act of distress turning it into a creative action.

”I initially started working with this medium because I liked the idea of somebody going so far out into wilderness that they needed to signal for rescue. I imagine their final gesture being a creative action; a sculptural and performative act”.

The works at the exhibition root themselves in a further sense of action painting, whereby each of these works come from a sculptural impulse. The smoke billows out, fills a space, and then dissipates into the environment. These pieces are records of sculptural actions.

John Knuth born 1978 in Minneapolis, MN. He is a graduate MFA from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and hold a BFA from University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

John Knuth lives and works in Los Angeles CA. He loves LA for many reasons but especially because he gets to enjoy all of the major contemporary issues in a very real and interesting way; air pollution, water shortages, insurmountable debt, Hollywood, immigration, freeways, sprawl, the Internet, drugs and invasive species. These developing socio-undercurrents produce mesmerizing and somewhat disturbing beautiful results in Knuth’s artistic universe. Stemming from a new conceptualism his artistic materials come from trashy and sometimes repulsive materials such as fly vomit, sugar, rotten house paint or the cardboard signs of LA’s homeless.

Exhibition interview:
Interview // John Knuth, LUCIDA Magazine by Lynette Letic