Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Valerie Knapp @ Hard Twist 2014

Valerie Knapp Post, 2013-2014; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
A few weeks ago I ambled down to the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto to see Hard Twist 8: This is Personal. My mission was to view the exquisite post cards of Valerie Knapp, a former professor of mine, and to see what Lois Schklar is making these days. In the process, I discovered other inventive textiles not on my radar. I'll share these discoveries in future posts.

Valerie's Post was the piece that stayed with me the most. It has inspired me to play with the spiral in my own way. Her spiral has the feel of a delicate nest. I dream about this piece.
Valerie Knapp Pressing Matters, 2013-2014; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Above is an overall view of her installation. It was difficult to photograph since it's in a narrow hallway, the glass protecting it is highly reflective, and a cleaning cart was parked in front of the end of the piece, thus limiting my options for an optimal photograph. Pressing Matters consists of 14 Japanese kozo postcards (hagaki), each 4" X 6" in size. She incorporates embroidery, relief print, drawing, assemblage, paper, pressed plants and thread into her mixed media artworks.
Valerie Knapp Headspace, 2013-2014; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
Headspace incorporates plant matter, collage, stitching, and drawing. A long look at this postcard invites the viewer to conjure up a handful of stories. What is the woman thinking? Could the woman be a romantic poet who speaks in flowery language? Do you see what I mean?
Valerie Knapp Red Shoes, 2013-2014; Photo credit: Karen Thiessen, 2014
As much as I am a sucker for shoes, it's the woman's hat that grabs me in Red Shoes. At first I thought that the woman was a young Queen Elizabeth, or her sister Princess Margaret garbed in fanciful clothing.

I would love to see Knapp's intimate, thoughtful work paired with poems or short stories written in response to each of the 14 postcards. The work is imaginative and holds narrative qualities. Pressing Matters is one of the strongest works in the Hard Twist 2014 show. The show is on until April 27, 2014.


Judy Martin said...

Glad you posted about this work. I liked it v much as well, and maybe had the same cleaning cart as company.

You are right about her work giving a variety of directions for each viewer to consider and then different ones the next time.

Valerie Knapp said...

Delighted you enjoyed my work Karen and Judy! I know it's a trek to get downtown. Thanks for your thoughtful comments/observations. I'm taken with your likening the woman in Red Shoes to the Queen. The clipping is from a 50's British mag.; she resembles how I remember my mother looked at that time and I used to think she was like the Queen, and she loved shoes, hats and to throw parties!

Gunnel Hag said...

Thank you, Karen. Great review!