John Knuth AMERICAN, b. 1978


John Knuth’s creative conjurings challenge traditional notions of art making, even in this millennium. His paintings force extreme tension between the sacred and the profane, creating stunning works by way of indelicate techniques. Knuth’s mission is to take something traditionally regarded as base, and to make it into something magnificent, where the materials feel secondary to the radical result. Knuth’s approach is alchemical. Like an art world diviner, he conjures the elements, from making burn paintings with distress flares and metallic space blankets to using fly regurgitation to make the most incandescent, shimmering paintings. He has perfected his process using flyspeck, which can be said to fall within the art historical continuum that includes the Pre-Raphaelites’ Mummy Brown or Chris Ofili’s elephant dung.