Susan Knaap is a New Zealand artist whose artistic career has spanned over two decades. During that time her art has traversed a number of styles, from figurative right through to abstraction. It is the latter which she now focuses on and through which she experiences the greatest amount of creative freedom.
The process of becoming an artist has taught me how important it is to create work that reflects who I am so that I can move beyond mere craftsmanship and share something of myself in what I do. I find that abstraction – where I am able to focus purely on colour, shapes and mark-making – allows me to do that more readily.
I’m sometimes asked what my paintings allude to; what they mean. Previously, I would have said they reflected my interest in concepts such as concealment and revelation, order and chaos, etc. However, over time, this preoccupation with providing a conceptual structure to my work has fallen away. These days, I’m more interested in the paint itself, the colours I use, and the marks I am making, all without the need to label it.
I am inspired by a number of artists and art movements but, of all of them, Monet has remained the most influential. His late work, where traditional perspective gives way to abstract fields of colour and texture, moves me deeply. More recently, I’ve developed an appreciation for the work of Joan Mitchell, herself an ardent admirer of Monet. The riotous explosions of colour and vigorous mark making within her paintings inspire me not only to take more risks with my own work, but to inject more of my physicality into the painting process.
Susan’s paintings are lush, multi-layered works rendered in a variety of media. Her approach is intuitive, where the process of painting itself dictates the painting’s direction. After a several year hiatus, Susan’s latest artwork is notable for its brighter colour palette, as well as its exuberant, gestural mark making.
2009 ‘Going Solo’ YouTube video produced by The Learning Connexion
‘GO! The Art of Change’ by Jonathan Milne. Featured pages 490-495
‘Levin art adventurer turns full circle’, Horowhenua Chronicle
‘Going Solo 24′, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington
Solace Art Gallery, Lower Hutt
Biennale Internazionale Dell’Arte Contemporanea (exhibition catalogue)
Appearance on ‘Breakfast’ TV show, 8 Nov re Florence Biennale
Appearance on ‘Tonight’ TV show, 8 Nov re Florence Biennale
Appearance on ‘Good Morning’ TV show, 15 Nov re Florence Biennale
‘Artist off to Florence’, Hutt News, 8 Nov
‘Valley resident sole Kiwi artist attending Florence Biennale’, Stokes Valley Times
‘Local artist invited to 2005 Florence Biennale’, The Wellingtonian, 18 Nov
‘NZ Artist Finalist in International Art Show’, State of the Arts, 22 Apr
‘From Fairgrounds to Cyberspace’, Article TLC Newsletter
Painting chosen for TLC Graduation invitation flyer
2011 TLC Tutor Exhibition, The Learning Connexion, Wellington ‘Art in the Park’, Levin
2010 Graduation exhibition, The Learning Connexion, Wellington
2009 ‘Going Solo 28′, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington
2007 ‘Going Solo 24′, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington Solace Art Gallery, Lower Hutt
2006 ‘Exploring Horizons’, Tamarillo Gallery, Wellington Affordable Art Show, Wellington The Original Art Show, Auckland Wheeler Campbell Art Award (Finalist) ‘The Art of Simplicity’, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington ‘The Big Look See’, Shed 11, Wellington ‘Celebration of Art’, Auckland ‘Small Works Exhibition’, River East Gallery, Greytown
2005 2005 Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy ‘Evidence’, TLC Staff & Tutors’ show, Turnbull House, Wellington Life Education Trust Auction, Taupo FINC Café, Wellington Bayley’s Real Estate Art Auction (on behalf of The Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind), Wellington ‘Woman’s Work’, Montana Winery, Gisborne Affordable Art Show, Wellington The Original Art Show, Auckland Going Solo 20, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington ‘Summer Exhibition’, ‘Winter Exhibition’, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington
2004 International Juried Online Symbolist Art Show “NZ Artist Finalist In International Art Show” ‘Proximity’, ROAR! Gallery, Wellington ‘Woman’s Work’, Montana Winery, Gisborne ‘Small Works’, ‘Wonderful Winter Exhibition’, ‘Autumn Exhibition’, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington ‘Affordable Arts Show’, Wellington Royal Easter Show Art Awards Exhibition, Auckland ‘Ritual’, Staff & Tutors’ Show, The Learning Connexion, Wellington Art of New Zealand Trust Fundraising Exhibition, Napier The Learning Connexion Student Shows, Wellington
2003 ‘Inside/Out’ Staff & Tutors’ Exhibition, The Learning Connexion, Wellington ‘Summer Exhibition’, ‘Autumn Exhibition’, ‘Absolutely Brilliant Exhibition’, ‘Small Works Exhibition’, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington The Learning Connexion Student Shows, Wellington
2002 Art to the Power of 11: St James Theatre, Wellington ‘Emphasis on Small’, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington ‘The Great Artdoors’ Exhibition, Wellington Bon Mange Café, Wellington ‘Exposed’ Staff &; Tutors’ Exhibition, St James Westpac Theatre, Wellington Bizartisanz Art Fair, Martinborough Si Salon, Wellington The Learning Connexion Student Shows, Wellington
2001 Inland Revenue Department, Wellington The Verandah Café, Eastbourne The Learning Connexion Student Shows, Wellington