Monday, November 28, 2022

Becky Knold’s exciting new paintings


Like a collection of elegant and mysterious religious icons dug up from a newly discovered ancient civilization, Becky Knold’s mixed-media scrolls on display in the lobby of the State Theatre during the run of Harlequin Productions' “A Christmas Carol” evoke the balance of light and dark, good and evil, with their contrasts and harmonies of non-traditional form and media. They are constructed/painted with tar and many other media on tarpaper — re-cycled posters and art papers, acrylic, oil, and spray paints, metallic pigments and powders, hand-painted papers for collage elements, wood laminate, used metal sanding discs, sandpaper, assorted found fabric, string, wire, and more. Each scroll has a glowing disc at the top with strips of painted and troweled layering of paint below. These paintings are the apotheosis and culmination (so far) of Knold’s art over the past few decades.

There will be an artist’s reception in the lobby Sunday, Dec. 11 from noon to 1 p.m. Learn more about Knold’s art here

From a written statement by Becky Knold:

 “Sometimes the discovery of a new material, or tool, or process can inspire new possibilities in one’s artwork. For me in this case, the catalyst was the discovery of tar as a painting medium, and tar paper as a surface to paint on. It was a couple of years ago that I became enamored with tar. Such a beautiful substance – thick, richly hued black and earth tones, shiny, gooey, with a semi-gloss finish that just feels good and honest. 

"Inspired by artists before me such as Anselm Kiefer, Guy Anderson, Morris Graves, and Theaster Gates, who have used it to great effect, I began experimenting. I found a tar-derived product called roof sealant used by roofers to protect against moisture. It can be thinly applied with a brush or thickly with a trowel. At the same time, I came across another product that was bound to change my work – a deliciously smooth and absorbent black paper, sold in big, wide rolls –“roofing felt.” a.k.a. tar paper. When unrolled, it drapes gracefully and can be hung on the wall as a scroll, frameless. Perfect for the large scale, experimental paintings I wanted to try.  . . .

“As for the motivation and theme of these new paintings, they are also consistent with some of my past work. The motivation came, in part, from an inescapable feeling of the increasing“darkness” of our times (which could be discussed at length). However, I need to add that this perceived condition has also served to reinforce and deepen my desire to focus on and create paintings that affirm the existence of “light” – an affirmation that will add to our sense of well-being and optimism. By overlaying a symbol of hope and beauty (the circle, in golden colors) on top of a starkly dark background, I want to show two sides of the same reality – the dark and the light, the ugly and the beautiful as they exist simultaneously, with the lightness symbolically transcending the darkness. I paint because I love the materials and processes of making art, but when these things can be married to the message – the dualities – inherent in our reality, well, I love it even more!”


With a few rare exceptions such as this review, I will not continue posting art and theater reviews on this blog. Going forward, my reviews will be posted only on OLY ARTS .

OLY ARTS offers Olympia’s best and virtually only coverage of the arts by a team of many of Olympia’s best professional arts writers who are themselves active performers, playwrights and visual artists. 

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