Image: studio shot, Fremantle Arts Centre. Photo: Christophe Canato
Lia McKnight is an Australian artist and curator based in Waylyup/Fremantle, WA. her practice includes drawing, sculpture, textiles and installation. In 2020, McKnight will present a solo exhibition, Homely at Cool Change
Contemporary and has been invited to participate in the inaugural York Botanic Art Prize, the Joondalup Invitation Art Prize and SIX:2020 at Mossenson Galleries. In 2018 she developed the major exhibition, Sensual Nature in collaboration with Fremantle Arts Centre Curator Ric Spencer and presented a solo exhibition Everyday Sacred at Turner Galleries. She has been invited to participate in Midwest Art Prize 2019, Minnawarra Art Prize 2019, Perth Royal Art Prize 2018, Joondalup Invitation Art Prize 2017 and 2011 and Stations of the Cross (Uniting Church in the City) 2017. She has been an artist in residence at Art on the Move (2019), PICA (2016) and Fremantle Arts Centre
(2014 & 2012). She has undertaken major exhibitions with c3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne (2014), Paper Mountain (2014), free range gallery (2013), Heathcote Museum and Gallery (2011) and created temporary public art commissions for the City of Fremantle (2013) and the City of Subiaco (2011/2012). A number of these projects, produced in collaboration with her long-time partner Stephen Armitstead, were site-specific and engaged within phenomenology. Her current work finds inspiration in the natural world to explore themes of life, death, sex and magic. Captivated by the idea of secret worlds pulsing and thriving beyond our awareness, Lia’s darkly humorous drawings and sculptures are at once alluring and disarming. They appear like mental maps to a strange and erotic terrain where suppressed desires and fears emerge as eerie dreamscapes. Intrigued by concepts of transformation and the interconnectedness of all things, McKnight’s work speculates on the nature of being by referring to the everyday alchemy of growth and decay.
Privileging lived experience and emotional geographies as areas of intrigue in both her curatorial and art practices, her research seeks to speculate on the shifting parameters of identity and context.
Lia graduated from Edith Cowan University with a BA Visual Arts in 1997. She began a Master of Arts Administration at COFA, UNSW in 2002, before heading back to WA in 2003 to start a family. Completing a Master of Arts, Cultural Heritage at Curtin University in 2005, Lia curated the exhibition, bones of the skin as her major research project which featured established and emerging artists including Julie Rrap and Liam Benson. She is currently the Collection Manager at the John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University and most recently curated the exhibitions Post-hybrid: reimagining the Australian self (2015), ASSEMBLAGE (2016), 50fifty (2017) and 50fifty:2020 (2020) at the John Curtin Gallery.