Works in the exhibition
Christian Knudsen’s art is characterized by its fertile tension and distinctly personal stillness; in front of his photography, his drawing, mixed-media, or his sculpture or painting, the viewer is presented with a complex and unique atmosphere, one that vibrates with quiet intensity and contemplative silence. The consistency of this sense on the part of his audience in confronting the work, various as it is in subject matter, may well simply be the result of his achieved and fully-formed personal style, honed by decades of tireless studio practice. Indeed Knudsen is a ceaseless worker as well as a virtuoso formally, an adept in pursuing the elusive goals of his artistry. Virtually everything he has completed over the course of his career is preoccupied with somehow achieving this creative density; we can feel clearly the strength and calm in the work as an intellectual force. This single-mindedness however should not be mistaken for narrowness. Indeed, Knudsen is one of the most polyvalent Canadian artists of his generation. His commitment to searching for a personal language of symbols has led both him and us far afield.
His catalogue is vast in breadth as well as depth, and in this exhibition, an overview of the last several years of his inventory, every strand that has emerged in his research is represented. A Brief History of Time, the title Knudsen has borrowed from physicist Stephen Hawking to help cue our awareness, refers to the time over which the work was made, the many years and thousands of hours in the studio. But it also points us toward the centrally important fact that his project, fundamentally, is holistic and global in its aspirations. It is relativistic in the physicist’s sense: it presents the theory that we live within and as the result of an interaction between time and space, and indeed of all things. Knudsen seeks to console and enlarge the space of our awareness; even more, to put us in contact with an ineffable, but firmly secular and rational form of philosophical mantra. A worldview is proposed in this work, the furthest reaches of which are attuned to a vastness of scale which echoes the most challenging conclusions of science, as well as spiritualism