Susan Knight: Layering and the Hand Cut

Water Courses
Layered, hand cut reflective Tyvek on paper
Size variable, 2010.

A decade ago I cut away forms on paper in order to make a unique drawing about my memories of the water I grew up on for a particular show.  Surprisingly the act of cutting energized me. And the more I thought about water I realized how growing up in Michigan around water shaped my life and sensibilities.  Now I’m compelled to examine every aspect of water.  Water’s physical and metaphysical powers to unite, circulate, connect and sustain inspire my work.

I hand cut, fold, incise, sculpt, stretch and tie paper, Mylar, plastic and Tyvek to express ecological issues in two and three dimensions as well as site-specific installations.  My primary tool is an Xacto knife.

I research data and filter facts about water and environmental issues like the ecosystem breakdown in the Great Lakes, flooding on the Yampa River in Colorado, the quality of groundwater in Nebraska, and mixed use issues in the Hudson River Watershed in New York state. I translate scientific information into forms by hand cutting the designs into manageable components. The components are often layered one on top of another and create entirely new groups of patterns, and complexity.

Hand Cut Paper in the Colorado Landscape
Photograph of hand cut paper
Mylar dots 20 x 30", 2013.


Layered hand cut on Tyvek
30" x 30". 2013.


Riding River
Handcut Mylar, acrylic ink
Site specific installation, size variable

Water Bank Boogie
Hand cut Tylec on paper, acrylic ink
Site specific installation, size variable

Nebraska-based painter and paper artist, Susan Knight is a native of Michigan.  Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows and installations nationally, including Bank of America Headquarters, Charlotte, NC and internationally in China, Ireland, Italy, and Canada.  She has twice been featured in Sci Art in America Online Magazine.  Among her honors, Knight is a recipient of a Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.  In 2013 she was chosen by The Colorado Art Ranch and The Nature Conservancy for a Land/Water residency at Carpenter Ranch, Hayden, CO and was awarded artist residencies at Ragdale, Lake Forest, Illinois in 1997 and 2009 and at the International School of Art, Montecastello di Vibio, Italy, in 1999.  She earned a BFA in art from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and attended The University of Notre Dame, The Glassell School of Art, Houston, and The School of the Chicago Art Institute.