John Knight


February 12—March 20, 2017

Open Sundays or by appointment

Opening reception: Sunday February 12, 12-5pm

11182 SE Tyler Road, Happy Valley, Oregon, 97202

John has a way of producing highly ordered situations that are actually governed by disorder.

For his project Pig—a continuation, part three, of his previous projects The Chicken and The Hog with HQ Objective and The Ridiculized Pigs at H. Klum Fine Art—John visited a private after-care art program at a local, public elementary school to read students a story and direct them to paint pictures.

In the story that John read, The Pig was valuable in the eyes of The Farmer. Not only was it valuable, The Pig was a metric for Value itself. The Pig was also smart. The Pig understood its position, it could see its future as a tradable good. In order to escape the inevitable, The Pig instigated a shift in power, which The Farmer could not have survived.

Under John's direction, 2nd and 3rd grade students painted on unstretched canvases of various sizes at their authorial discretion in response to the story. Each painting was collaborative, touched by four hands minimum. Time was limited but the children worked quickly.

Students should be divided into groups of four.
Four students are assigned to 1 canvas.
The canvas is divided into four squares.
A story is read to each group occupying each canvas.
Each student must paint a shape of their choosing in response for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds each student must rotate clockwise one square.
Each student must paint a shape in response to their classmate's picture for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds each student must rotate clockwise one square, repeating these directions.
The procedure of painting is complete after 4 continuous minutes of repeating the above directions.

After four such sessions over the course of two school years, a selection of these collaborative paintings were stitched together as banners. A banner is the shape of public speech: parade, protest, advertisement. The five banners are supported by metal poles and leant upright against the wall or splayed across the floor. No smaller than 18 feet long, these banners must unfurl to be viewed in full; they need to be carried, paraded outdoors. Their presence, scale, and weight attest to the resolute intentionality of the gesture—these are momentous paintings.

What's at stake in John's work is the painting of painting. John plays both sides. Like The Farmer, he is interested in the production of production, in the ontology of Value. Like The Pig, John wants the exhibition of production as much as the production of an exhibition. The marks on John's paintings are not chance marks—by re-allocating the labor of painting away from himself, the canvas becomes a frame. These paintings are indices of scenes of sociality that were rigorously controlled, yet expressly open. Ordered disorder. John's process is to use, not invent, the order of the world around him, caught in an inescapable loop between opposition and accordance. A retreat from invention that actually produces it, like a good.

John Knight (b. 1986) is an artist living in Portland, Oregon. Knight has shown locally at Muscle Beach, The Littman Gallery at Portland State University, HQHQ Project Space, Amur-Initiatives, H. Klum Fine Art and MEΣ(s)A Project Space. Knight co-directs Williamson | Knight in Portland with Iris Williamson. Recent curatorial projects include: Cherry and Lucic and H. Klum Fine Art in Portland, as well as DIY Printing and Free Space Projects in Cincinnati. Published text includes: "Notes for an Arts Manufacture" in Pillowtops and Beyond by Carly Mandel, published by HQ Objective; "Abstract and Not So Abstract Arrangements," for Becoming What Was at Duplex Gallery; and The Ridiculized Pigs.

Conduit is a curatorial project organized by Jade Novarino and Eli Coplan. We are currently programming exhibitions at Jade's house, at 11182 SE Tyler Road, Happy Valley, Oregon, 97086*. Conduit is supported by a Neighborhood Gallery Grant from Surplus Space. To get in touch, please email

*Conduit is located at the summit of Mount Scott. For those riding public transportation the 19 Bus Line will take you halfway up the hill (end of the line), while the MAX Green Line will take you to the bottom. If you plan to arrive at either of these locations please feel free to call us and we will pick you up.