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  • Kris Knight “Slumberland” Oil on canvas, 2014.

  • Kris Knight. Photograph by Tyler Loy.

  • Kris Knight “Pink Tom” Oil on prepared cotton paper, 2014.

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Gucci and Spinello Projects present “Smell the Magic”, a solo show by Kris Knight

Spinello Projects, a Miami-based gallery that focuses on artists with unorthodox and experimental practices, recently presented Kris Knight’s “Smell the Magic” pop-up exhibition in the heart of the Miami Design District, coinciding with the beginning of Miami Art Week 2014. The show was supported by Gucci and marked the release of the artist’s first published catalog. Gucci’s Frida Giannini discovered Knight’s work in an indie magazine and, impressed by his sensual portraits of men lost between youth and adulthood, used his pastel palette as an inspiration for Gucci’s fall/winter 2014 collection. This led to a year-long collaboration, with Kris Knight reworking Gucci’s iconic “Flora” print for the 2015 cruise collection, paying homage to ancient pagan Rome and the plants that women of this time used for healing, seduction and protection.

“Smell the Magic” served as an excellent introduction to Kris Knight’s moody portraits of young men that are inspired, according to the artist, by rural escapism and the Late Baroque and Rococo movements embodied by artists such as Poussin, Fragonard, and especially portraitists such as Reynolds, Gainsborough and Vigée-Le Brun. Exploring the blurred lines between innocence and sensuality, Knight creates a fantasy world that is inhabited by fragile creatures that represent real world memories and reflect the multiple and contradictory aspects of his own personality. His subjects look simultaneously luscious and virginal, playing both the role of the hunter and the hunted, to the surprise of the viewer that is left puzzled by their ambiguous quality and uncanny beauty. “Smell the Magic” will remain on view at the Spinello Pojects pop-up gallery at the Miami Design District (95 NE 40th Street) until December 15, 2014.