April 24 - June 8, 2019
The key concerns in my work have to do with notions of the value of physical labor, the accumulation of material as evidence of time, and challenging prevailing assumptions about material, its uses, and hierarchies of value. I have used non-traditional materials like rope, unfired porcelain pots, and clay dust (industrial Kaolin). I am interested in discovering ways that material might visually reveal (or challenge assumptions of) its own characteristics. This is accomplished by implementing simple but concentrated and repetitive physical activities like winding, sifting, stacking, or compressing, creating contextual surprise as a result of process over time. I am interested in the capacity of physical labor to generate a visceral sense of connectedness to place. The sifting of Kaolin produces a tenuous situation of delicacy and impermanence that creates tension between the embedded sense of investment and the ephemeral nature of the result.
Over time I have become increasingly aware of the performative aspects of my work and have thought long about how to open the process to viewers without sacrificing the solitary, contemplative space necessary for its making. The specifics of the Cube have allowed me to put forward one scenario as a solution. For this exhibition I have closed the gallery space to public view and used video feeds to provide viewers access to the work and the process of its making via TV monitors in the gallery and online viewing options.
The situations described above build on the work I have been pursuing for a number of years, and the use of technology that mediates the viewer’s experience of the work bring new questions into the mix that I find very compelling. For example: What is the ontological status of the object of art in the context of mediated experience? What is the nature of knowledge in an intensely mediated reality?
This exhibition has been funded in part by a Faculty Research Grant from Bridgewater College, Bridgewater VA.
Eric Kniss earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Bethel College, North Newton KS, and an Associates of Art from Hesston College, Hesston KS. Kniss has been awarded the Joan Mitchell MFA Grant (2010) and is a fellow at the Hambidge Center for Creative Art and Sciences (2015). His work has been exhibited in various venues including the Weatherspoon Art Museum (Greensboro NC), CUE Art Foundation (NYC), Lexington Art League (Lexington, KY) and Staunton Augusta Art Center (Staunton, VA). Kniss teaches a wide range of courses in the Art Department at Bridgewater College, Bridgewater VA.