Hannah Knox is a painter living and working in London. Born and raised in the city by designer parents, art has always held an importance in Knox’s life. One of Knox’s early memories of art is distinctive: her parents took her to see a show called ‘Self Storage’ by Artangel with installations and sound by Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson and RCA students. Knox recalls coming to understand and be excited by the idea that one “could create something just for the sake of art,” and in 2007, she graduated from The Royal College of Art with an MA degree in Painting.
Since then, Hannah Knox has lectured in painting at numerous colleges and universities including Chelsea School of Art, Oxford Brookes University and University of the Creative Arts Canterbury. She has exhibited her own work extensively in the UK and elsewhere including Miami, New York, Detroit, and Dubai. Recent exhibitions include ‘Over All,’ solo show at Badr el Jundi Gallery, Spain (2022), ‘A Mark Extended’ at Wasserman Projects, Detroit (2021) and ‘Greetings from Miami’ at Hashimoto Contemporary, New York (2020). Her artwork has been collected internationally: her paintings are held in the Fidelity Art Collection and the Government Art Collection.
The ‘portraits’ that make up Knox’s exhibition ‘Software’ are “complete entities” and “independent units that contain a story.” Each item is provoking, one might question who these garments belong[ed] to, who has had them within their possession, and who is yet to? We are often presented with garments in abundance, we are used to such excessive consumption in a world of accumulation and futility. Knox places higher importance on each vestment as she presents them as individual and seemingly unique objects. As singulars they allude, more acutely, to the body upon which they might hang or drape.
One of the paintings which features in this exhibition is entitled ‘Horizon (La Décalomanie).’ It is part of an ongoing surrealist series of garment portraits that refer to a 1966 painting by René Magritte in which two figures appear, a man and his silhouette, highlighting a dichotomic presence and absence. Arguably Magritte’s most influential painting is ‘The Treachery of Images,’ better known as ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe.’ Philosophers of art have written extensively on this artwork as it tackles the meaning and uses of language and more largely, painting. This profundity intrigues Knox, like the ‘The Treachery of Images,’ her artworks are not shirts, they are paintings of shirts.