Kate Knapp ~ Block Island, Changing Light


In “Block Island, Changing Light,” 17 oils-on-canvas, Kate Knapp captures the effects of the ever-changing light as it falls on familiar Island places. The oils will be on exhibit at the Jessie Edwards Gallery on the second floor of the Post Office building from July 31 to August 12. In a “Meet the Artist” video via our website , Instagram, and Facebook on Wednesday, July 29th, Knapp will talk about her work in this exhibit, and there will be a ”Gallery Walk Through” shared on-line Friday afternoon, July 31st, where visitors can enjoy the show at their own pace. The show will be open to viewing in the gallery during our open hours, and private viewings can be arranged by contacting the gallery.


As Knapp said recently, “These familiar places are never the same because the changing light creates different effects.” The artist’s challenge is to capture those moments. “Mansion Beach Bluffs with Incoming Ferry” is a good example of Knapp being in the right place at the right time: the morning sun illuminates the intense colors of the rocks, the bluffs, and the motion of the waves at the exact moment the first ferry from Pt. Judith comes into view just north of Mansion Beach above Pots and Kettles.

In “Corner at Painted Rock, Autumn,” late morning light from the south at the corner of Mohegan and Lakeside sets off the vivid autumnal colors of the shrubbery and grasses around the pond. In contrast, “Dories Rock, Bright Path of Sunlight” is a sunset of unexpected softness of tones in blues, greens, and dabs of red and orange. Pale yet warm yellows create a path of sunlight across the water and cast the large rock in dark purple and black shadows.

“I like the tension between light and shadow. Where there is light, there is shadow,” Knapp explained. For example, in “Sunset with Wiggle Trees,” another West Side sunset, the colors are vivid. The setting sun’s yellows and oranges are reflected in the grass, while the green shadows of the wiggle trees trunks fall across the foreground. This harmonious tension between light and shadow can also be seen in the architectural details of the house in Knapp’s work. Roof lines and angles are set off in “Andrews House with Big Clouds” and in “Old House off Fresh Pond,” with its fence and porch leaning askew in the foreground.

Knapp’s floral still lifes are full of color and texture. Afternoon sun pours light onto the vase of vibrant flowers in “Zinnias on Porch with Red Flowers” and gleams off the blade and red handle of the sharp paring knife that has just been used to trim the flowers. In “White Flowers on Porch with Bird Tiles,” the clusters of white cow parsnips and large green leaves are set on a table of colorful bird tiles, minute still lifes in their own right. Similarly, the colors in a mix of wildflowers and berries in a clear glass pitcher are picked up in the patterned cloth in “BI Bouquet, Pam’s Glass Pitcher, Blackberries.”

“Art is a place I go to find peace, and I find peace in the simplicity of Block Island,” Knapp said recently. “Two Chairs at Sunset” evokes that sense of peace with two vacant chairs waiting for occupants to sit quietly and reflect on the gentle yellow and pinks of the sun setting in the soft blue and purple sky. Green shadows of the chairs and tree spread across the grass, and the swaying branches suggest a gentle breeze. For Knapp, it is being in the moment when all elements come together that leads to epiphany — enlightenment.