Eric Kniss, Artist

The key concerns in my work have to do with notions of the value of physical labor, the accumulation of material as evidence of time, and challenging prevailing assumptions about material, its uses, and hierarchies of value. I use non-traditional materials like unfired porcelain, dirt, and clay dust. My engagement with these materials is motivated out of a desire to discover ways in which material might visually reveal (or challenge assumptions of) its own characteristics. I accomplish this by implementing a simple but concentrated and repetitive physical activity such as sifting, stacking, and compressing. As process, these actions parallel the kinetic activities engaged by builders to construct monumental structures. The difference being, that my processes do not aim at necessary structural ends, rather, my work is capable of creating contextual surprise as a result of labor. I am interested in the capacity of physical labor to generate a visceral sense of connectedness to place. As a function of cumulative kinetic and material trace, the work is insinuated upon the space it occupies. The results of my engagement with these materials often produce a tenuous situation of delicacy and impermanence. I am interested in the tension that develops between the embedded sense of investment and the ephemeral nature of the object.