Rachelle Viader Knowles

About the Artist

Going to an art store for supplies before she starts working on an art project is not typically a task Rachelle Viader Knowles needs to undertake. Her work is based on the rituals of daily life, and many of the materials she uses can be obtained in visits to the grocery store, the hardware store or just as  foundAn image, material, or object, not originally intended as a work of art, that is obtained, selected, and exhibited by an artist, often without being altered in any way. The cubists, dadaists, and surrealists originated the use of found images / materials / objects. Although it can be either a natural or manufactured image / material / object, the term readymade refers only to those which were manufactured. Also known in the French, objet trouvé. (Artlex.com)  objects in her environment. If she can’t find what she wants she will often have it manufactured to meet her specifications.

Knowles’ mother was from Mauritius, a small island nation off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Due to political concerns on the island in the late 1960’s, Viader Knowles’ mother and her family immigrated to England. Soon after arriving there Viader Knowles’ mother met her father, and Rachelle was born in Bristol, in the United Kingdom, in 1969. She spent her childhood in Wales, but excursions to Mauritius and other locales were regular occurrences, instilling a love of travel and exploration in her spirit.

In Viader Knowles’ early art experiences the emphasis was placed on realistic representation. Since this  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  of art-making had little significance to her, it left her feeling like she might not be very good at art. However, she went on to study  ceramicsPottery or hollow clay sculpture fired at high temperatures in a kiln or oven to make them harder and stronger. Types include earthenware, porcelain, stoneware, and terra cotta. (Artlex.com)  and jewelery at Cardiff College of Art in Wales and received a Foundation Certificate in Art and Design in 1988.

While enrolled at the University of Wales College in Newport, her attention shifted to  conceptual artArt that is intended to convey an idea or a concept to the perceiver, rejecting the creation or appreciation of a traditional art object such as a painting or a sculpture as a precious commodity. Conceptual art emerged as an art movement in the 1960s. The expression "concept art" was used in 1961 by Henry Flynt in a Fluxus publication, but it was to take on a different meaning when it was used by Joseph Kosuth (American, 1945-) and the Art & Language group (Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin, Harold Hurrell, Ian Burn, Mel Ramsden, Philip Pilkington, and David Rushton) in England. For the Art & Language group, concept art resulted in an art object being replaced by an analysis of it. Exponents of conceptual art said that artistic production should serve artistic knowledge and that the art object is not an end in itself. The first exhibition specifically devoted to conceptual art took place in 1970 at the New York Cultural Center under the title Conceptual Art and Conceptual Aspects.   (artlex.com)  and video. She graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in Interactive Arts. At age twenty-four, confident in what she wanted to learn, Viader Knowles moved to Canada to study Visual Art and Multi-Media in Windsor, Ontario. She graduated in 1994 with a Masters of Fine Art from the University of Windsor.

Viader Knowles’ current position as professor of Inter-Media Studies at the University of Regina, Visual Arts Department, allows her the financial means not to be concerned with creating ‘objects of art’ for sale. Instead, she creates visually intriguing installations, comprised of a variety of non-traditional materials and technologies, challenging her viewer to interpret her verbal and non-verbal messages.

In her art practice Viader Knowles explores what it means to be a ‘human being‘. Her works are often about loss and transitions, and are based on relationships, whether they be human/human, human/place, or human/body. She also explores ideas related to the past, present and future, and cannot be easily pigeonholed into any particular  techniqueAny method of working with art materials to produce an art object. Often implied is the sense that techniques are carefully studied, exacting, or traditional, but this is not necessarily the case. Examples include basketry, blotting, carving, constructing, découpage, embossing, encaustic, exquisite corpse, firing, folding, hatching, kerning, laminating, marbling, modeling, necking. (artlex.com)   or artistic style. She is an artist who has an interest in a variety of art forms, including conceptual, performance, multi-media, time-based, or space-based  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  and video. The materials and technology she uses, the ways she presents her work and the ideas she pursues also place her within the postmodern tradition.

Starting Into Art
The Story of SOS
Viewing Her Work
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning