Anders Knutsson

ANDERS KNUTSSON WAS BORN in Malmö, Sweden where he studied art and engineering. In 1967 he came to the United States and became a citizen in 1976. He has lived in Illinois, Ohio, California, Vermont and since 1977 in New York City. His work has been exhibited since 1972 in over 35 one-man shows and 40 group shows.

In 1980, Knutsson began working with pigments that have unique phosphorescent properties, with traditional ground color pigments and acrylic medium, or oil and wax. Different from the typical pigments that reflect light, these pigments emit colored light in the dark. Fifteen years ago, Knutsson began painting trees. For him, trees are a visually powerful way to express light, organic form and the not-so-flat world. The trees that he paints are actual trees that grow in the area where he lives or has visited. To Knutsson, trees are symbols of strength, endurance and longevity — not only practical providers of shade, oxygen, shelter, fruit. They are metaphors for life and carry universal and eternal symbolism (such as the tree of Life, of Knowledge, the Buddha tree, Yggdrasil).


“The paintings are meant to be viewed in the dark as well as under traditional gallery lights.”


Knutsson continues to work with trees as a subject matter and phosphorescent pigments as a material whose properties he is still unlocking.? His works van be viewed on Knutsson’s website at www.andersknutsson.com.
artistic statement
Art for me is a journey of discovery into the unknown. “Not knowing” what each painting will be is tremendously exciting.

For the past 20 years, I have been exploring the properties of unique full spectrum luminous pigments. These phosphorescent materials are exciting, mysterious, surprising and have little known history in painting. I believe that the handful of artists, of which I am one, determined enough to work with this difficult pigment, are truly explorers in artistic territory still to be charted. . . . I work with luminosity by mixing these phosphorescent pigments with traditional ground color pigments and oil/wax or acrylic medium. The paintings are meant to be viewed in the dark as well as under traditional gallery lights.

In the light, the paintings are light filled and luminous. In the dark, each color changes in tone and intensity at a different rate of speed – the storm of electrons that come into one’s eyes are powerful and very sensory and create that immediate surprise that some have called the “wow” moment.

Light has been used in painting to suggest the existence of another force, a non material world, an inner reality we all know exists and whose presence is of vital importance to painting as art, regardless of style and time. In my seriously complex and changing paintings, light is emitted from within, rather than reflected from the surface and this difference is the source of a new expression of light.

It was always obvious to me that movement and time were an integral part of this experience – that intrinsic to the experience of this work was movement of light. What started as improvisatory light “performances” using an ordinary camera flash at my exhibitions, developed into a performance concept. In 1999, I began to work with musicians and dancers to develop a performance concept that is improvisatory and experimental in nature. The performance has three equal components: sound, movement, and light. Like a jazz trio, the luminous performance trio must be able to blend their talent and energy with the other performers to create a “performance of the moment” dynamic. This element of unpredictability and spontaneity gives the performance its excitement. Equally exciting is the altering of expectations. The traditional expectations of paintings, dance and music are suspended: color is freed from the canvas, music from the instrument and movement from the body.

I continue to work with phosphorescent pigments as a material whose properties I am still understanding and whose secrets I am continuing to unlock through my work in painting, performance, glass work, print and sculpture.

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