Work by two accomplished artists at the Chris White Gallery July 28 through September 8, 2023.
“K.O. Simms, a Retrospective” graces the upper level of the gallery while “The Ontario Series” by Jack Knight plays in the lower level. Curated by JaQuanne LeRoy.
- Opening Reception, Friday, July 28, 5-9pm
- Art Loop Reception, Friday, August 4, 5-9pm with artist talk by Jack Knight at 6pm
- Closing Reception, Friday, September 8, 5-9pm
with a tour by curator JaQuanne LeRoy at 7:30pm
- August hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 1pm
- and by appointment. Just call 302 475-0998 for a private viewing
K.O. Simms, a Retrospective
The video above, by Nadj N Jea, was made in late 2022 at the Delaware Art Museum. Below, detail of the K.O.Simms painting “Shake, Rock, and Roll”.
Embark on a mesmerizing journey through the world of K.O. Simms at this retrospective art exhibition at the Chris White Gallery in downtown Wilmington, Delaware.
One of the pleasures of viewing the paintings of K.O. Simms is how his images change completely as one moves in close to see the details. What appears as a portrait when viewed from a distance becomes an colorful abstract when viewed close up. Above, for example, is a detail of his painting “Shake, Rock, and Roll”, 40×40-inches, 2023, $9,000 — a portrait of performer Tina Turner.
Simms paints, not with a brush but with a palette knife. He scrapes the paint into place. “If you can spread peanut butter on a piece of bread, you can do what I am doing,” says the artist, being too modest. His skill is especially evident when you notice that many scrapes contain several colors at once.
The two biggest paintings in the gallery — 82.5×96-inches — are of his neighborhood, specifically 9th Street in Wilmington, Delaware. He says his neighbors endured him as he played his O&Gs (his oldies but goodies) very loud, sometimes while painting outside. Two other paintings of his in the gallery are landscapes of Wilmington but the rest are portraits of people he admires including Louis Redding, Thurgood Marshall, Judge Leonard Williams, and Harry Edward Spencer. Two are of his father, Captain Morris L. Simms, Sr.
Jack Knight, The Ontario Series
playful mixed-media wall constructions
Artist talk at 6pm on Friday, August 4.
Artist Statement by Jack Knight
If playing means “to engage in something fun or enjoyable”, then this series is all of that and more.
Creating these works is a distraction from the everyday whirling, swirling events of the world, over which I have little control. However, I can escape the craziness for awhile and entertain myself by being absorbed in the studio creating these works.
Biography of Jack Knight:
Jack was born in Welland, Ontario, Canada and grew up in western New York. He received a BS in Art Education and NY State Teaching Certification from Buffalo State College (1971). Later, Jack received a scholarship from the Buffalo Foundation to attend graduate school and received an MFA in Painting from SUNY@Buffalo (1976).
In 1971, he experienced a studio fire from a natural gas explosion, resulting in a five-alarm fire that destroyed a corner block of structures. There was one tragic fatality. And the ten artists lost all the contents of their studios.
In 1974, Jack’s 17’ long shaped canvas painting, “Triangle Series 1-6”, was juried into the 34th Western New York Exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery including gathering two awards. This exhibit was controversial because of the 1500 works submitted only 37 works by 33 artists were selected. Jurors were artists Nancy Graves, Robert Indiana and Baltimore Museum of Art Director, Thomas Freudenheim.
Other exhibits followed including the 1986 exhibit “Form Or Formula” at the Hudson River Museum. Jack has been a member of two artist-run galleries in Boston and Philadelphia. In 2003, Jack was invited as visiting artist at the National Academy of Design in New York. In 2021, received the Established Artist Fellowship in Sculpture from the Delaware Division of the Arts.
About the Ontario Series
by Danny Schweers, Chair, Chris White Gallery Committee
The boxed giraffe shown above is one detail of a larger wall construction by artist Jack Knight. Thirty of these colorful “Ontario Series” mixed-media assemblages by Jack Knight are on display now in the lower level of the Chris White Gallery.
The element of play is paramount. There is a cow as well as frogs and a zebra. There are cupcakes, slices of cheesecake, donuts, and ice cream cones. There are pharaohs, puzzle pieces, and measuring spoons. Geometric shapes abound.
Most of the work is 36-inches tall but a few are taller. One is 44-inches; another, 48-inches. Most are 12-inches wide but some are 17-inches wide. Depths range from three to seven inches. Most of the assemblages sell for $750 to $850.
A recurring motif is a lower box of framed elements, often containing fragments of abstract paintings or sculpted shapes. You are encouraged to see these three-dimensional works in person!