Tom Strini
Kay Knight

TCD Artist of the Month

By - Jan 3rd, 2012 06:31 pm

Kay Knight, “Addition,” 20×20 inches, 2008.

We at ThirdCoast Digest live in a fishbowl: A former retail space with huge windows facing the second-floor promenade of the Plankinton Arcade in the Shops at Grand Avenue. Hundreds of people pass by and gaze in every day.

In October, Shelby Keefe, the Pfister Hotel‘s artist in residence, placed several paintings in our window for an Art Milwaukee Jamboree. We left them up for weeks after that event and noticed that many people stopped to look at Keefe’s work. We realized that our shop window is a great place for an artists to gain exposure, so we’ve launched the TCD Artist of the Month project.

Kay Knight is our first. Knight, an art professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 1992, is showing five works in our window through January.

Kay’s father was a carpenter, and it shows. First, these works are on plywood, not canvas. Second, they’re about houses and how houses are made. Third, Knight cut her plywood slabs into house-like shapes for three of these pieces.


Kay Knight, “Roof Leak,” 20×20 inches, 2008.

She doesn’t allude to McMansions or to grand old homes. The post-war, middle-class bungalow and all its historical baggage fire her imagination. These places gave returning GIs all the modern conveniences and, sometimes, a family Cold War bomb shelter.

Still, Knight’s work is personal, and heartfelt rather than ironic. In her Artist’s Statement, she cites childhood memories of helping her father work on remodeling their own home. She helped to scrape off layers of old wallpaper, and in two of the pieces at TCD she has hand-painted versions of vintage wallpaper. But the cutaway image, which reveals the sort of framing carpentry her father did, is the main theme of  Knight’s TCD mini-show. She blends technical sorts of drawing, period ambience, memoir, and subtle social commentary in an intriguing, complex way.

Knight holds an MFA in painting from Washington University, St. Louis, and a BS in art education from Missouri State University, Springfield. She has shown in galleries and museums in Milwaukee, New York, Chicago, and Beaumont, Tex., among many other places.

ThirdCoast Digest is accepting proposals from artists for February and beyond to show in our space. The two available walls are 65″ and 73″ wide. A 70″ by 50″ patch of floor space is available for 3D objects. We do not post prices or conduct sales, but we do put potential buyers in touch with the artists or their galleries and representatives.

To apply, email images, contact information and dimensions to Tom Strini,



Kay Knight’s Artist of the Month Mini-Show, as seen by the public through our window on the Plankinton Arcade.

0 thoughts on “Kay Knight: TCD Artist of the Month”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am doing a paper on Kay Knight for school. I saw his art at the Renaissance center in Dickson. Can you tell me more about him? Thanks

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