Artist CV

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.

My art is inspired primarily by nature and the way in which we, as humans, find connection with its forms, rhythms and processes. In particular, I identify with those aspects which speak to my own psycho-spiritual journey – concepts such as flow, spaciousness, mystery, illumination and transformation.

There is a deep interest regarding the edges of things – the boundary line between one thing and the next and the degree to which it is permeable. This is explored in an ongoing interplay between the idea of us AND nature (i.e. that we are separate to it) and us AS Nature (i.e. that we are indistinguishable).

I also find the juxtaposition between illusory depth and ‘flat’ space (which is visually evident in early Christian, traditional Japanese and Art Nouveau art styles) extremely compelling. I love the way in which the eye is invited to look ‘through’ an image before being directed back to its immediate surface (i.e. a push and pull between figure and ground). 

My creative process always begins with free, intuitive play where there is full freedom to explore colour, marks and textures. This produces a rich, varied surface on which to respond. What follows is a ‘call and response’ interaction – paint is added and removed, covered over and then exposed, until a sense of layered history is created. Ultimately, I attempt to create paintings which unapologetically show my hand in them – my marks, inspirations and sensitivities. This, to me, is what authentic art is all about.

Susan’s art is well known for its expressive painterly quality. Paint, and other media is applied diversely – from blended brushwork through to vigorous gestural marks, drips and troweled on paint. Opacity and transparency exist side by side, as does atmospheric depth and ‘flattened space’. It is these differences, confidently juxtaposed in each painting, that ensure each piece is visually exciting.

Painting Awards

2012
Cliftons Art Prize, Wellington section (Finalist)
Artavita’s 2nd Contemporary Masters Contest (Honourable Mention)

2006
Wheeler Campbell Art Award, Wellington (Finalist)

2004
International Juried Symbolist Online Art Show (Finalist)

Media, Publications & Events

2017
‘New Zealand: Kiwi Consciousness. Contemporary Artists from New Zealand’
by Imago Mundi: Luciano Benetton Collection. Featured pages 222-223

2014
Invited to judge Horowhenua Art Society’s ‘Levin Competition’

2009
‘Going Solo’ YouTube video produced by The Learning Connexion

2008
‘GO! The Art of Change’ by Jonathan Milne. Featured pages 490-495

2006
‘Levin art adventurer turns full circle’, Horowhenua Chronicle

2007
‘Going Solo 24′, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington
Solace Art Gallery, Lower Hutt

2005
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

2004
‘NZ Artist Finalist in International Art Show’, State of the Arts, 22 Apr

2003
‘From Fairgrounds to Cyberspace’, Article TLC Newsletter

2001
Painting selected for TLC Graduation invitation flyer

Exhibitions

2020
‘Autumn Exhibition’, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington

2019
‘Our Place’, Horowhenua Art Society, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, Foxton
New Zealand Art Show, Wellington

2018
TLC Staff Exhibition, Odlin Gallery, Lower Hutt

2012
Clifton’s Art Prize exhibition, Wellington (Finalist)
TLC Tutor Exhibition, Expressions Gallery, Upper Hutt

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

Art Education

2023
Masters of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy (First Class Honours), Whitecliffe College, Auckland

2020
Art2Life Creative Visionary Path Programme

2018
Post-Graduate Diploma of Arts Therapy (Distinction), Whitecliffe College, Auckland

2010
Diploma of Art & Creativity (Advanced), The Learning Connexion, Wellington