Artist Talk with Robert Knight
January 19, 2017 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
In God’s House examines religious diversity as a reflection of the contemporary immigration crisis and demographic shifts facing Europe. Historically, tolerance of religious difference has been a professed value of developed, democratic nations, including those of Western Europe. Recent events, however, have upended those foundational beliefs, leading to calls for extreme anti-democratic measures in some countries.
My photographs of religious services juxtapose historic Christian churches with contemporary mosques in cities across the continent, revealing both similarities and differences between faiths. The resulting images allow us to consider not only our contemporary relationship to religion but also our relationship to those different than ourselves.
The long exposure photographs create “ghosted” congregants, capturing a moment of visual parity across religious communities and emphasizing the temporality of congregants in contrast to the permanence and historic nature of many religious structures. Looped audio recordings of musical portions of the services add to the sensory experience and intimacy of the photographs, while also serving to reveal an aspect of the services that are simultaneously similar and different between them. It is the tension between similarities and differences that I hope to highlight in the work: we are all different, yet we are also the same.
Robert Knight received an MFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design and a BA in architecture and economics from Yale University. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Danforth Museum of Art in Massachusetts, Jen Bekman Gallery in New York, the LaGrange Museum in Georgia, The Bascom in North Carolina, the Houston Center for Photography in Texas, and at photography festivals in Nantes, Le Mans and Arles, France. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at Gallery Kayafas, Boston, MA, the Munson Williams Proctor Art Museum, Utica, NY, and the Wellin Museum of Art, Clinton, NY. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and numerous private collections. Robert is currently an assistant professor of art at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.