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‘Secrets Are The Things We Grow’: Kris Knight’s Portraits of Men Who Are Hiding Something

These magnificent portraits by the artist Kris Knight, taken from his latest series, Secrets Are The Things We Grow, offer a supple beauty, both relenting and quietly powerful. “This new series of paintings portray characters who deeply hold their secrets but long to let them go,” Knight told us. Speaking of the subjects in his work, Knight said, “They hide truths of what they are, where they come from and whom they love. Stemmed from personal stories, these young men isolate themselves from those around them; they cover their secrets with lies and put on airs.” A relationship between Knight’s viewer and subject is indeed implied; in each of these pictures – and especially in Blue Gaze and Soft Pink – there’s a symbiotic withholding and revealing going on. Something is being held furtively, and tentatively given over.

Knight’s oil paintings possess an unruffled sumptuousness, from the material of a subject’s sheer shirt to the bed of grass a couple rests upon, the theme of florals, and the pastel hues inflecting a subject’s rosy cheeks. As Knight elaborates, “Within these portraits are elements of the garden and exercises in pattern work representing how secrets are rooted and grow with time. Other paintings note the bonds formed when secrets are revealed to those we hold closest.” The name of Knight’s series is fitting; like our secrets, everything within these portraits seems to be growing and melting away.    

Secrets Are The Things We Grow will be on show at Soho’s Mulherin + Pollard gallery from April 4 through May 5, 2013. Click through to preview the series.

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“Blue Gaze”Image Credit: Kris Knight