“ I describe what I do as MY WORK. Of course for me, what I do isn’t work at all…
it’s a way of being. I couldn’t be anything else. What I do is simply follow my vocation.”
Jonathan Knight has been a professional sculptor for nearly 40 years earning his first commissions in his mid-twenties. However, he started long before that. Making impressionist forms of dancers and horses from twisted wire and household plaster when he was only 10 years old.
His early professional life was devoted to sculpting the horse. Fired by his passion for riding and his admiration for the beauty and expressive power of the horse, Jonathan Knight soon established a formidable reputation for the beauty and veracity of his equestrian work. Commissions to create lifesize bronzes for Cheltenham racecourse, Cheveley Park Stud and Penang (Malaysia) Turf Club occupied these years.
Yet Knight was never happy to stop at that. From the 1990s onwards and following his first successful exhibitions at W.H.Patterson Fine Arts and the Sladmore Gallery, he began to consider the limitations of the subject, resisting the requirement for an unforgivably realistic appearance and focusing more and more on the ultimate simplification both in form and material.
The goal of simplicity and essence without losing contact with reality is what Jonathan Knight aims for.
His subjects have expanded to include all types of waterfowl, wild birds, African and European mammals, which are rigorously analysed and stripped of unnecessary detail.
Their soul is laid bare without this being lost in an overly detailed image.
The sculptures are available in limited editions of twelve bronze casts for each edition. Their exclusivity and uniqueness is further enhanced by the individual patinas which Knight personally gives each bronze.
Jonathan Knight finds himself at the crossroads between two worlds. He shares the smooth reductive presentation of Pompon with the inspiration and power of Bugatti. But he is by no means a follower of these earlier exponents of animal art. He is above all driven by the need to express the inner nature of the animal.
His approach is to combine formal objective observation with a tender but unsentimental engagement with his subject, and although his art is not “self-expressive” in the demonstrative way of much modern art, he nevertheless, through this approach, surely expresses something of his own inner being.
To see a video of selected sculptures at his recent one-man show at Francis Maere Fine Arts, Ghent in 2018 click here
Jonathan Knight is one of the finest animaliers alive today with a seemingly effortless ability to capture the spirit of the wild creature he sculpts and somehow incorporates movement and repose at the same time. Successfully sculpting since the 70`s. There are many who have tried to follow his style. (Artparks International)
The sculpture of Jonathan Knight is a single-minded quest to capture the essential spirit of the animal ….which sets his work apart from the majority of “wildlife art” – fluid, tactile images with warmth and soul; the characteristic life spark of animals and birds captured and held in bronze. (Rowles Fine Art Gallery)
He thus joins the ranks of a tradition that originated in the 19th century and has had its followers worldwide since the Art Deco movement.
Francis Maere Fine Arts, Ghent