Artist Spotlight: Kris Knight

Knight's fantasy portraits of androgynous youth are haunted and sensuous.

BY Christopher Harrity

February 16 2013 5:18 AM ET


Two Sons Too Many, 2011, oil on canvas, 40x60"

Androgynous seems like a limited word to describe your subjects. They don't have a diminished sense of gender but instead seem to have a surplus of all gender aspects. Tell us more about sex and gender identity in your work?
I’m fascinated with the complexity of physiognomy and never get bored with painting the figure. I focus on the portrait because I’m interested in the gaze, as well as portraying the subtleties of the face. When I first started painting professionally, I was interested in androgyny in terms of gender, now I am more interested in creating neutrality and ambiguity in regards to moods. I like tiptoeing between dichotomies of hot and cold, especially in facial expression, atmosphere, palette, and sex. Sometimes I want my characters to appear as virginal as possible, other times I want them to appear overtly ostentatious in their sexuality, but most of the time I want them to fit right in between. I like confusion.  

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