In the series of banners devised for the 75 lamp standards along University High Street and selected intersecting roads, four images of the campus staircases repeat in sequences, sometimes paired, sometimes singular. The banner format crops the horizontal of Arthur Erickson’s orientation into narrow vertical slices. The nearest image is so near as to transform the steps and risers into solid alternating slabs of colour. Gradually, over the series, the viewpoints step back to include two staircases intersecting in a flattened perspective, then further, to reveal a recognizable archway, and finally far enough to show a number of columned entrances and a window. Within her radical crop of the picture plane, Knowles has simplified the tonal and textural information to allow for only the high contrast of light, shadow and middle tones to appear on the printed fabric.
Devon Knowles is a Canadian artist currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia.Her material centered practice assesses historical and contemporary models of production, interrogating their cultural positions and how they form material language. Through the investigation of a material’s history, economic and social contexts, the philosophy and theory surrounding a material manifest themselves in language. This language establishes an intimacy directly between the physical material, its use, and history. It is from within this blended configuration where Knowles’ practice engages, and where the conscious act of making becomes conceptually productive.