Kris Knight: Pretty Boys

Kris Knight is a Canadian painter whose work examines performance in relation to the construction, portrayal and boundaries of sexual and asexual identities. Drawing from personal histories of rural escapism through imagination, Knight paints disenchanted characters that are lost between youth and adulthood; they hide their secrets, but desperately long to let them go. His mythical and ambiguous portraits are a synthesis of fantasy and real-world memory; they tiptoe between the dichotomies of pretty and menace, hunter and hunted, innocence and the erotic. Throughout Knight’s professional practice, he has created thematic bodies of work that reference historical notions of regality, mysticism, romanticism and symbolism. He often skews these concepts with contemporary interests in androgyny, psychotropic alterations and the post-modern gaze. Knight’s lustrous classical cum illustrative figurative paintings, stride between a contradicting palette of sensual primaries and ghostly pastels, reflecting his adoration for 18th Century French portraiture and polaroid photography. In January 2014, a friend notified Knight that his painting’s pastel color palette was listed as a color inspiration for Gucci’s men’s RTW fall/winter 2014 collection. The collaboration began a month late after the event, with Knight being invited to Rome to meet Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini, a fan of Knight’s works, and her team to rework Gucci’s iconic Flora print.