Chris Knight’s recent research has developed from an ongoing artistic enquiry into the relationship and understanding individuals have with decorative objects. It draws on his ideas and experience spanning 20 years that engage with concepts concerned with expectancies for an acceptable aesthetic and the obvious functional language within the objects we surround ourselves. He creates objects that stop and question their place within the world; they are not intended to fit comfortably. This enquiry has been realised through, until recently, three distinct, yet interrelating categories of objects; domestic silverware, ecclesiastical silverware and public art.
Recent work using integrally cast, graphic elements, in both functional and non-functional objects has created a platform for provocation and narrative commentary through the use of visual metaphors. This work encompasses many of the traditional research methods to be found in the making of craft objects with the critical and reflective position dependent upon the tacit knowledge developed over an extended period of time.
What’s important is what an object speaks of. Although very clear about his own creative rational Chris is unambiguous about the need to not reveal all through textual methods. ‘By doing so you remove the spontaneity, the intangible the ungraspable aspect of the final product’. For him it’s about what the audience (viewer – user) brings to bear when they encounter one of his pieces. Revealing too much from one viewpoint does not allow for further interpretations.
‘There is a transition between the finite image on the computer and the physical materiality of the object through the many stages of its making which is impossible to express through text. By producing the objects I understand them better. If I tried to understand them before they existed then they would never become material objects.’
Chris Knight is Senior lecturer in Silversmithing and Jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University. Since completing his Masters study at the RCA in 1992 his professional life has been divided between teaching, academic research and practice. He is known for his functionally and visually provocative domestic and ecclesial silverware which is represented in many public and private collections. The last decade has seen his practice diversify into collaborative architectural and public art projects which have been recognised nationally through numerous awards and prizes. He has been a guest speaker at many national and international forums contributing thoughtful insights which extends the critical dialogue in relation to knowledge and understanding in the field. He is a Freeman of the Goldsmiths’ Company (2000); was Chair of the ABDS (2002-05); and recently became a Guardian of the Sheffield Assay Office and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2010).
Roger Billcliffe Fine Art, Glasgow (Solo) 2008; Objects & Ritual, Harley Gallery 2007; Protect and Serve, Scottish Gallery 2006; Jerwood Applied Arts Prize for Metal, Crafts Council (Touring) 2005; Creation, Goldsmiths’ Hall 2004; A Field of Silver – Silver in a Field, Flow Gallery, London (touring) 2002; Contemporary British Silver, Galerie Marzee, The Netherlands 2000.
Work in public collections include : Ulster Museum (Candelabra 2010); Museums Sheffield (Chalice 2010); Sheffield Cathedral (Chalice and Ciborium 2008); Goldsmiths’ Company Collection (Drinking set – collaboration with Maria Hanson 2008); Museums Sheffield (Candelabra 2006); Aberdeen Art Gallery (Coffee set 2006); Crafts Council (Tea set 2004); St Marys, New York (Processional cross & communion cups 1999); Victoria & Albert Museum (Candelabra 1998); Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Louvre (Integrally cast bronze vessel 1997).
Winner of Museums Sheffield National Metalwork Design Award 2010; Marsh Award for Public Sculpture 2008; Landscape Institute Award 2007; RIBA White Rose Award 2007; Leeds Architectural Award 2006; Jerwood Applied Arts Prize for Metal (shortlist) 2005.