Dean Knight’s work probes the insecurities and fragilities revealed in the social, professional, and creative lives of humans. At times poignant, often ludicrous, he homes in on the curious lengths we go to carve out a place for ourselves in the world.

In a roundabout way – moving between abstraction and figuration – Knight’s painting, ceramic, collage, and sculpture uncover a fascination with the human impulse to exert influence, to assert ourselves and make claims for status along the way. He is particularly interested in the performed identities of the male artist, and long-held preconceptions of the gay man. Knight draws out the unnuanced construction of such personae. He identifies recurring materials, attributes, and symbols – such as erect phalli, bow ties, rainbows, and glitter – that together have become a kind of shorthand way of signalling a particular set of beliefs, predilections, and perspectives.

Knight is acutely aware of the art-historical legacies that weigh heavy for an artist (and art technician) living in Cornwall. His answer to this is to undercut all elitist tendencies with mischievous irreverence, and a pick ’n’ mix approach to cultural references. Frank Lloyd Wright-style building blocks, become the support of a dirty washing-up bowl; MDF and air-dry clay masquerade as stone; a cartoonish abstract wave alludes to art-world expectations of work by Cornish artists. In this way, macho high art Modernism is tipped pathetically from its pedestal. Restyled and repackaged, Knight overturns the principles of good taste leaving behind an unapologetically cutified version of art and life, exposing affectation and calling into question the cult of authenticity.

(b.1980, Plymouth)

Solo Exhibitions:

Shame, that, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, 2023

The Sensitive Gaze, Auction House, Redruth, March 2022

It’s Not Me, It’s Shoe CMR Project Space, Redruth, 2019

Modern Sculpture, Project Space 11, Plymouth, 2010

Narratives: Chapter 1, Sculpture Series, former Boots store, Redruth, 2010

Selected group shows:

Knip, PINK/Juxtapose Art Fair, Aarhus, Denmark, 2023

Bridge the Tamar, MIRROR, Plymouth, 2023

Stage (part of Pebble/Shoe), Kingsgate Project Space, London, 2023

Queer Textures, PINK/The Manchester Contemporary, 2022

The CoWorkers, Studio 31, Spike Island, Bristol, 2022

Plymouth Contemporary 2021, KARST/The Levinsky Gallery

Borderland, Leadworks, Plymouth (part of Plymouth Art Weekender), 2020

Glade (curated by Hugh Frost), Potager Garden, Constantine, 2020


Arts Council England, Develop Your Creative Practice, 2021

a-n Bursaries: Time Space Money, 2020

Cultivator Mentoring Grant (with curator Paula Orrell)/Professional Development Award, 2019/2020

Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts (for Narratives Chapter 1: Sculpture series, curated by Bettina Wenzel), 2011


Cove Park, Scotland, 2022

The Cornwall Workshop (led by Elizabeth Price), Kestle Barton, 2022


Mid Career Survey, Landfill editions, 2021

Synesthesia, 2021 read here


Visiting Lecturer, BA Fine Art, Falmouth University, 2023

Workshop leader for Feminist School of Painting, as part of Ad Minoliti: Biosfera Peluche, Tate St Ives, 2022

Draftsperson for Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawing #1136 Curved and Straight Color Bands (2004), Tate St Ives, 2021

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