Emma Knight studied art at the University of Mary Washington. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia she spent 20 years in Savannah, Georgia before returning to her hometown. She has won several exhibition prizes in her 30 years of painting and has also been included in the prestigious State Department’s Art in Embassies program and ArtFields in Lake City, SC. Her work has been shown across the United States and in Europe.

There is no mistaking Knight’s specific artistic style. Windswept, puffy, organic shapes fill the canvas and take the place of foliage, leaving the viewer with a sense of curiosity and wonder. Knight has been influenced along the way by masters such as Paul Gauguin and Georgia O’Keeffe. “My style is both random but controlled. It’s not exactly what a tree looks like, but you know that’s what it is – it’s very freeing.” Her paintings reveal an atmospheric sensibility. Line, shape and color work in concert to evoke the mood of a place and time rather than clear and detached details. In her newest works, her abstraction has gone a step further. No longer representing actual space, the organic structures still conjure sensations of life. They recall the petals of chrysanthemum or carnation. Or perhaps their squiggly shapes suggest creatures found in the waters of a lake. Knight embraces the natural world to her own sensuous end, her own Twisted Eden. (credit to Eric LaChance, Curator of The Sumter Counter Gallery of Art, Sumter County, SC)

Bone Lilies and Candy Cane Snakes by Emma Knight


Within these scenes of not-quite-so natural botanical landscapes, the viewer is invited to explore and ponder the possibilities of symbiotic relationships. I’ve always been influenced by science fiction, but now scientific realities are more and more part of the serious conversations of the day. Whether we are battling a novel virus, diverting asteroids or suffering the effects of climate change, our daily lives include confrontation with nature in beautiful and terrifying situations. Sometimes the florals are commenting on war here on earth (as in “Sunflowers Fighting the Fog”) or they are imagining the invasions by/and/or of other planets. Inspired by Henri Rousseau’s post-impressionist jungle paintings, I borrowed his license to paint the wild unknown (as he painted jungles without leaving Paris) to suggest that exploration can lead to understanding which can then transform to positive change.


Bone Lilies with Lavender by Emma Knight
Bone Lilies with Snake by Emma Knight
Bubble Lilies by Emma Knight
Planet Henri by Emma Knight
Pushing Up Daisies by Emma Knight
Sunflowers Fighting the Fog by Emma Knight