John Knap is a Brisbane-based artist who has been exhibiting his work at SODA Gallery since the gallery opened in June last year and his new body of work, opening on 4 May at SODA Gallery, Avalon, is set to stun audiences with his take on how different cultures have perceived feminine beauty over time. Knap has drawn inspiration from images of 'pin ups' of the 30's and 40's as well as 'glamour' images of the 50's and 60's (vogue covers and alike) and the geisha girls imagery he is most well known for.
The pieces present as an 'East meets West' look at how we have perceived feminine beauty, especially in the last century.
The works consist of painted faces on canvas that are then manipulated by mixed media such as wallpaper and shellac, resulting in a unique portrait image. Knapís Ďfacesí seem to reveal themselves to the viewer, at times coyly at times boldly. The paintings have a mystery to them created by this use of wallpaper.
The shellac finish adds to the intrigue and creates an appearance of an old-fashioned hoarding. The works donít fit neatly into any particular artistic genre, nor are they easily identifiable as contemporary or traditional. They have a strange capacity to occupy both the old and the new, in terms of their subject and aesthetic.
In his smaller pieces colour photocopies are used to create small iconic images of faces. These are a reflection of the faces used in the painted pieces. They have a distortion to them that make them incredibly interesting while layers of shellac add more depth. Knap plays with a realistic image and adds elements of surrealism whilst keeping their original essence. The result is wonderful and the sense of mystery these works give is certainly something to experience.
Chinese Opera, 2003
wallpaper and shellac on canvas
92 x 92cm