GERHARDT KNODEL


New adventures begin as one pays attention to them as fields of opportunity.  A new body of work comes from trusting that lifelong experiences will not inhibit attention to a new set of strategies.  Experience will quietly reside at the periphery of the table. However, once into the adventure, you often discover how very persistent those past accomplishments are.  They sit on your creative shoulders, sometimes like gargoyles perched on the cathedral walls, waiting to assert themselves as channels of energy through which new possibilities must flow.

Much of my past work was inspired by architectural space.  Open physical spaces, like the vast interior spaces found at entrances or atria of corporate offices, hotels, or other public facilities, offered the opportunity for the creation of three-dimensional textile constructions/sculptures that activated space, essential revealing aspects of light or energy that existed, but were not seen.  

Returning to the studio after years in the director’s seat at Cranbrook, I decided that my large studio would become the new arena for the work and that once completed, the work would live with me in the studio until the studio was so full that I would have to let go.  In years past, I had worked on projects for a year or more, installed them in spaces for which they were commissioned, and then rarely revisited them.

Textiles  have always offered inspiration for my work.  I respect the history of the medium for all it has contributed throughout human history, including the extraordinary relationships existing between people and cloth generated in all aspects of individual and commercial production,  How can we make those traditions relevant in a changing world? I stubbornly believe that my love for the medium and for all the back alleyways of inspiration offered to me through the medium are worthy subjects to explore. And just as sensitivity to  textiles in the contemporary world has changed as the medium comes into play with out lives differently than it has in the past, so has the potential of new ideas morphing with the old. In contrast to the world of abstract imagery that dominated my interests as subject matter in the past, my work is now motivated by ideas rooted in the world of contemporary experience, the world of problems, challenges, opportunities, and failures that characterize this moment in time.  What better way to examine some of the conditions than in the context of textiles, a medium that conjures positive expectations and associations?

I welcome your attention to this representation of the work, its evolution, and the abundant personal discoveries that simply form a foundation for what comes next.