artist statement

This is a selection of work from the last twenty years. Although some pieces utilize photography, painting is the underlying medium and an innate language where informaiton is layered to reveal sensory as well as visual experience. In my photo-murals I have fused painting and photography to take each further than tradition.

These obvious studio images, with their painted backdrops and props in contrast to the photographic believability of the life-size humans in tribal paint, force the viewer to confront not only the modern day aborigines but their own cultural preconceptions.

The constant theme in my art has been an interest in cultural symbology. I first worked with landscape to represent how we view ourselves, with an inherent connections to ancestral land as cultural ID, as historically who we are. It’s No Place for Small Fish… 

No Place for Small Fish

depicts a distant land and All That is Nothing New is about the flow of life and death on the land that remains. Similarly, I began to use architecture as the predominant symbol of culture.

Al That is Nothing New

Both works, Gargoyles Never Occupy the Center, (right) and Empire Building (below) employ architectonic shapes while other include details and motifs from classical buildings. Abstracting botanical shapes as symbols of culture and nature is a further extension. Some are taken from art historical sources such as the medieval rosettes and acanthus leaves, while others are from the domestic arena of wallpaper patterns, fabrics and media imagery that has permeated our modern culture. As well as becoming part of our visual language, these patterns create a shared experience loaded with associations that translate into culturel symbols.

In my current paintings, I am fusing pattern with layers of imagery to create a contemporary presentation in the way information appears and flashes across a digital screen. In Andy, the filtering layers, cascading format and linear motif reflect this change in static composition.

Empire Building

All images in this site are ©Charlene Knowlton, no reproduction of any kind, or any media without expressed written approval.