Rufus Knight-Webb

I have two narratives, which best describe my work, one relates my subject matter to the human body, and the alternative relates my work to music. There are other influences, which effect the way I paint, however the two associations presented here, lend themselves most easily to a written description.

Narrative No.1, relating my 'Curve Paintings' to the language of the body.

Around 1997, I began painting a series of artworks consisting of sweeping, curved forms and shadows made with airbrush. This graphic style of painting icorporated an element of figuration, following the gentle curved form of the human body. These paintings are a quiet form of erotic art.

Originally my 'Curve' paintings followed a thought process; Beauty is not simply in the eye of the beholder, it is a feeling inspired by specific visual associations. I experimented for a number of years, trying to extract the raw ingredients of beauty and present them on canvas.

My journey into the subject led me toward early visual archetypes which seemed to have survived and influenced subsequent cultures. These were often feminine with rounded body forms and commonly erotic.

Our purpose as a living species has always been reproduction, and our preoccupation as human beings is making reproduction as meaningful as possible!

To present seduction in a sophisticated rather than esoteric way, I opted for aesthetic economy, reducing my subject to single curved forms, stretched from one side of the canvas to the other. I chose airbrush because its soft gradients can be photo realistic.

Over the years this painting style has changed very little. Occasionally I have made the imagery more complex, introducing shadows and intersecting forms. Mostly I have preferred simplicity in the end.

The figurative element in my 'Curve' paintings is not obvious. Through making these works I have discovered an approach to painting, which allows me to express my underlying curiosity and passion for the body in a quiet, perhaps secretive way.


Narrative No.2, relating my 'Curve Paintings' to music.

My signature, airbrushed paintings are improvised translations of music and sound. Throughout my career my work has evolved in parallel with my interest in music. Music is nightlife and art is a daytime activity. In the late 1980's I chose to spend my time in the world of music instead of the contemporary art world. My colleagues were musicians and my leasure time was spent in night clubs.

A common language in all my work is a choreography of rhythm and gesture, a continual flow of semi-structured, musical energy. These gestures follow the movement of the body, and often when I am unobserved in the strudio they become an improvised dance. The sweeping curves of my paintings are metaphores in themselves, they are a library of symbols representing what I feel when I respond to music, and the things I notice in the world around me. They describe my journey into the senses, and remind the viewer that each painting is both a physical and imaginative journey.

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