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.
The infamous surrealist painter mentioned is one of many artistic inspirations for Knox. She is currently enjoying the work of Alex Katz, Edouard Vuillard, Katherine Berhardt, Julie Curtiss, and Grace Weaver amongst many others. Knox yearns for more time to see art in person; yet when unable to get to galleries she consumes art in the form of poetry, books, music, and fashion. All these sources, like the garments that she chooses to gather and paint, make up the archive of Hannah Knox. The components that make up said archive are more than just commodities. They all relate to one’s body, our desires, sex, ambitions, and limitations. Leaving the garments void of bodies, Knox allows the audience to project their own understanding and memories onto, or into, the empty shells.