August 29 - October 5, 2019

Exhibition opening: Saturday August 31, 2-4pm

Richard Knafelc, in his Presences paintings, employs liquid flows of abstract colour across human figures. His aim is to explore the nexus between the body and the soul, while suggesting the variety of our internal psychological states.

Many fundamental questions cannot be proved or disproved scientifically: Is there a God? Is there a soul or spirit, or a ‘life force’ that animates living things? Science is only beginning to investigate the basis of consciousness, thought, and feelings. Douglas Hofstadter (2008) asks: “Can a self, a soul, a consciousness, an ‘I’ arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? If it can, then how can we understand this baffling emergence?”

Art can enable us to explore the zone where knowledge ends and speculation begins. Richard Knafelc made this new series of paintings with the above questions in mind.

The abstract forms in Knafelc’s paintings may suggest spiritual energy flows, as well as cellular and molecular biological processes. The dominance of the abstract patterns over the human body in the works can evoke the power of these forces and processes. The high saturation colour combinations suggest vitality and liveliness – the exuberance and strength of the ‘life force’. The contrast of the coloured figures with the black backgrounds evokes notions of life versus death or non-existence; complexity versus nothingness.

On another level, the abstracted paint flows can evoke our internal psychological states. These states of thought and emotion are complex, constantly changing, and are always in flux. They are also often largely invisible to others. We can never exactly know what another person is thinking or feeling when we look at their exterior. Each painting can represent a moment captured in time, which can vary for each person depicted, as well as between individuals.

Reference: Hofstadter D. (2008). I am a strange loop. Basic Books, New York.