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GoMA to present major retrospective of work by Jack Knox

Home News

GoMA to present major retrospective of work by Jack Knox

Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) presents Jack Knox: Concrete Block, a solo exhibition by Scottish artist Jack Knox (b. 1936 d. 2015).

This exhibition, which will be the largest retrospective of work by the artist presented to date, focuses on paintings produced over a ten year period from 1968 to 1978 including many works that have never before been on public display. Alongside are images, on 35mm slides, of nearly every painting Knox produced from the 1950s onwards.

What becomes apparent across the exhibition is the pleasure Knox took from simply looking; a joy in happenstance and an ability to capture and elevate the seemingly incongruous details of his everyday life. This is filtered through an appreciation and understanding of art history which manifests itself with a subtle sense of humor throughout.

In this way Knox produced work that, at the same time, could reference source material ranging from Paolo Uccello or the Northern Renaissance to museum culture in 1970s Amsterdam or experiences of food while holidaying rural France.

Works made between 1968 and 1971 show how Knox focused on stream-of-consciousness studio painting. The paintings how it is and The Battle of San Romano II are influenced by and take formal qualities from the Florentine painter Paolo Uccello’s Rout of Sam Romano (1438 – 40) while incorporating details from Knox’ daily routine living with his young family in Carnoustie, West of Scotland.

In Haiku, Two Exotic Birds, and Concrete Block we see Knox’s practice continue to develop through the early nineteen seventies as he moves away from the abstraction of the late sixties to a somewhat more figurative approach.

A further change in Knox’s practice is made apparent in Impasse, here the canvas has been all but stripped bare, and the only remaining image is a torrent of water crashing into a brick stack. The message is clear: the work of the sixties was over and was to be washed away and replaced by something new.

Other works in the exhibition tell the story of Knox as an influential teacher, displaying his knowledge and love of art history through his paintings. Snack in a Dutch Museum illustrates the joy Knox took from spending time in museums, while Still Life with Lobster brings Knox’s interest 17th century Dutch still life painting to the fore.

To provide the context the exhibition will also include reproductions of slides illustrating nearly every work that Knox made over his 60 year career.

Jack Knox (b. 1936 d. 2015) graduated from Glasgow School of Art in the late 1950s after which he spent time studying in the Parisian studio of André Lhote. On returning to Scotland Knox took up teaching posts at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, and later as Head of Paintings at Glasgow School of Art. All the while working and exhibiting throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally, including exhibitions at Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, The Serpentine, London and Glasgow’s Third Eye Centre.

The list of his students at Dundee and at Glasgow includes many of the brightest names in contemporary Scottish painting, Victoria Morton, Michael Fullerton and Alison Watt among them.

Watt said of Knox:

“He never failed to encourage me. A great teacher and an even better man.”

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said:

This retrospective of work by Jack Knox is to be welcomed. It provides us with a significant opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the impact of Jack Knox’s work, through his painting and as a teacher on a generation of artists.

“Through the exhibition we can continue to build an international legacy that is fitting for one of the most important artists and teachers working in Scotland in the second half of the twentieth century

Jack Knox: Concrete Block
5 July 2018 – 13 January 2019

For more information visit www.glasgowmuseums.com