Ross Knight came to New York City in 1989 after completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He had been accepted at Cal Arts and was ready to go, but he had also gotten into the studio program at P.S.1. His advisor suggested that he defer and accept the P.S.1 offer. Knight’s year in the city coincided with exhibitions by two serious Europeans, Franz West and Michelangelo Pistoletto. Both made situational sculpture: but no matter what the medium, their work evinced a primary awareness of volume, space, weight, and physical presence. It also had a philosophical and critical largesse that encompassed painting, performance, and installation and even took in pictorial and imagistic concerns.
Similarly, Knight became known for his supple and slyly referential sculptural situations in which common Home Depot-type materials enhanced but ultimately frustrated narrativity and cultural import. Careful but impromptu, painterly but non-decorative, the significant group of works in his exhibition “False Props” consisted of mostly boxy, post-minimal objects that unlike, say, a Judd sculpture, were portable. Knight liked to comment that the entire show could be folded up and carted away in the back of a van.
Later work seemed to discard the volumetric in favor of connections, joints, gesture, and discrete color moments. In his 2005 exhibition at Team Gallery, “Fragments for studying what’s leftover,” a large sculpture made from several lengths of elegantly extended and bent aluminum tubing took up most of the main room, and several drawings on plastic continued his curious preoccupation with commercial and industrial color. Several other outsized structures appeared that year, outdoors at the SculptureCenter in Long Island City and indoors at various European art fairs.
Arrangement in Black and Blue, 2007.
Steel, patina, foam, wood, burlap, plastic, and hardware.
117 x 137 x 13 in.