Saturday, July 28, 2007

Barbara Knight, Mom of the Modern

Dustan Knight has established a name for herself as an artist, instructor and critic. I recently visited her new studio - in the very house in which she was raised. Dusty mentioned that her mother, Barbara Knight, had been a prominent painter and potter in the Seacoast, and she pulled some of her paintings out of storage for me to see!

Barbara was an abstract expressionist - the movement gets its name because it is seen as combining the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools such as Futurism and Synthetic Cubism. Dusty and I spoke about the dark nature of the work, possibly resulting in the challenges of being a woman artist at that time and wanting to be taken seriously. Later in life, Barbara turned to writing fiction. Dusty gave me a copy of one of her books, 'Woodsedge', a novel of romantic suspense.

Reflecting on this visit I couldn't help but wonder how my own experience as an artist and gallery owner would have been different had I been raised in a home where the artworld was prominent - a part of my daily life and surroundings from the very beginning. Though my parents have been extremely supportive of my chosen path, they are unable to understand my passion. Que sera, sera.