Dustan Knight has been a force in the watercolor field for decades, famous for her juicy, simultaneously loose and delicate, spontaneous work.
Her floral, kimono, koi fish and equine art is highly sought after. "Whispers of Wilds" offers it all, but focuses on her flora and horse paintings, the latter drawing from her years of owning and working with Arabians.
“Horses and painting have both been a part of my life, my passions, for as long as I can recall. I’ve ridden my entire life,” says Knight. “Here I bring them together.
Knight created a new equine series for the exhibit.
“I would say they are whimsical and dreamy and ethereal,” says the artist. “They’re about the spirit of the horse.”
Knight will also exhibit smaller, floral works.
“The flora paintings are bright, cheerful and colorful,” says Steve Bowersock, gallery curator and co owner. “The works are luminous, and translucent, finished with thin layers of glaze that give them the quality of stained glass.”
They also feature a brighter palette than Knight’s usual, warm corals, tangerines and oranges juxtaposed with turquoise and aqua.
“Color can affect your feelings. It’s like listening to music, it can brighten a day or add melancholy,” says Knight. “I’ve purposefully created a brighter palette, canvases that lift the spirits.”
Knight, an award-winning artist, received a BFA from Duke University, MFA at Pratt Institute and an MA in art history from Boston University. Her work is exhibited throughout the US. She has been commissioned extensively by nonprofits and corporations and been awarded a percent-for-the art grant.
Knight is an early pioneer of the oversized watercolor canvas, challenging the medium’s properties by working pieces as large as six-feet.
The New England artist will offer a 45-minute demonstration of her technique at The Center for the Arts, 138 e. 5th Ave, on February 9.
"Whispers of Wilds" also features Doug Hays’ iron and steel, hand-forged horses, “noble, wild beasts with wind-whipped manes,” explains Michael Sanger, director and co owner.
“These creatures exude power. Doug is able to convey environment, elements, motion and emotions along with the beauty of the wild with only a portrait sculpture.”
Hays’ work combines ancient and contemporary techniques, using hammer and anvil along with power tools and computers. It’s the forge that drew him - the passion that keeps him at it.
“It was the excitement of a burning forge and hammering hot iron first drew my attention,” he says. “My education was trial by fire, years of experimentation discovering ways to combine the ancient and modern techniques.”
Hays has exhibited throughout the US and created dozens of commissioned works for private collections, corporations, nonprofit, and municipalities in Florida and throughout the country. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the 2009 Professional Development Grant Recipient, United Arts of Central Florida.
“These artist could not be more different on the surface, soft colors and hard steel,” says Bowersock. “Yet their work addresses and captures the same thing – the spirit of the natural world.”