I first encountered the work of Catherine Knight at the Private View of the Discerning Eye prize exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London in 2014. I like to visit every year as it’s a wonderfully curated show, predominantly painting based and a great opportunity to see work of lesser-known artists hung alongside contributions from internationally recognised names. I was drawn to three little paintings on board hung vertically together (featured above and all sold now) which were so compelling in their colour composition and scale that I was drawn back to them several times during the evening. Rarely do paintings resonate so strongly and I was compelled to see more work by the artist. I learnt that the paintings were made in response to a residency in Hrisey, Iceland, a place I have only seen in photographs and read about in books. Like Catherine I have enjoyed the novels of Tove Janson set in Scandinavian islands and she perfectly captures the scenes conjured up in my mind by these books.
While her work explores isolation and the vastness of the Icelandic landscapes there is also a strong sense of ‘home’ present in the works. Interior lights shining through windows compete with the distinct Icelandic light and we are drawn towards those small dwellings with their promise of warmth and life.
In Catherine’s work the colours ‘sing’ with life, especially on these small compact boards and each piece almost glows capturing for a moment the ever changing light. Catherine contrasts these small paintings on board with large works on canvas that successfully conveys man’s tiny imprint on nature’s vast canvas. Catherine’s magical paintings have now put Iceland at the top of my travel agenda. I know a lot of people that have been over to Iceland, and they seem to all have positive reviews. One of my friends recently went over there in a campervan that she hired from https://www.rent.is/. She said that she had the best time and that she saw so many things. I’m even more inspired to go now. Maybe I’ll plan that trip in the future.