British artists Mike and Veronica Knowles exhibit paintings at CityU

Mirror Fung

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As part of the celebrations to mark the launch of its Hong Kong Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies (HKAICS) and the newly retitled College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is exhibiting over 60 paintings and drawings by the well-known British artists Professor Mike Knowles and Mrs Veronica Knowles.

The exhibition, entitled “Where the Light Lies”, showcases a selection of Professor Knowles’ landscape paintings and Mrs Knowles’ garden paintings stretching back over the past 40 years.

“Professor Knowles has delegated his art to the representation of the complexity and diversity of nature,” said Professor Gregory Lee, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Director of HKAICS, at the opening ceremony of the exhibition on 26 January. “We often see the land, landscape and the ever-changing climate dramatically depicted in his work.” The paintings, he added, should not be viewed as “local” paintings but as works of art that convey the main values of humanity.

“The exhibition at CityU will offer our students as well as the Hong Kong community a valuable opportunity to appreciate the paintings of Mike Knowles and Veronica Knowles, and enable them to benefit from the sort of mind-broadening liberal arts educational experience we strive to promote,” said Professor Lee. ‘The event is also an excellent out-of-classroom learning experience for the students.”

Professor Knowles has also created a series of paintings and drawings called “The Muses” for HKAICS. “The paintings embody innovation and creativity, which are two themes not only of our college and institution, but of the University as a whole,” said Professor Lee.

Officiating guests at the opening included Professor Knowles, Mrs Knowles, Mr Andrew Seaton, British Consul-General, Ms Lesley Lau, Chief Curator of the Art Promotion Office, and Professor Arthur Ellis, Provost of CityU.

The works by Professor Knowles range from oils that characterise the first phase of his career to the large watercolours that have become increasingly important to him in recent years, while those of Mrs Knowles represent the splendor and grandeur of nature. “Mrs Knowles has a keen and unique observation of nature,” said Professor Lee.

The title “Where the Light Lies” is taken from the poem “To Morfydd” by the British poet Lionel Johnson. “It did seem appropriate to an aspect of my work, a concern with light and space,” Professor Knowles said.

The exhibition explores a dominant theme in the work of Professor Knowles: his passionate engagement with nature, a profound sense of the elemental, inherent power, the vital forces that animate the natural world and the rhythms and energies that are the heartbeat of the universe.

“We are privileged to live in an age in which the bounds of human knowledge are being pushed forward at an amazing rate, particularly man's relationship to the complex living rhythms of our planet and the seemingly limitless vastness of the universe,” he added. “These drawings and paintings are not just pictures of a particular subject; rather they are pictures of my ideas and feelings about a particular subject. I would hope that the viewer might be able to share in my engagement with the subject.”

He believes that nature is a word which encompasses both our desire to understand and recognition of how little we know. “I was particularly touched that the early proponents of Chaos theory used landscape drawings by Dutch masters to exemplify a broad yet incisive approach to looking at the world around us,” he said.

Professor Knowles is Emeritus Professor of Fine Arts, Liverpool John Moores University. He has staged numerous exhibitions and his paintings are to be found in many institutional and private collections. The works of Mrs Knowles are mostly held in private collections in England, Wales, Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Portugal, France and Spain.

This is the first time Professor Knowles and Mrs Knowles have presented their work in Hong Kong. They also talked about their experience at a seminar on art appreciation on 27 January at CityU.

Exhibition Period

Date: 26 January to 13 February 2011 (Closed on 3-5 February)

Opening Hours: 8:30 am-11:00 pm daily (Free admission by registration for external guests)

Venue: Run Run Shaw Library, City University of Hong Kong

Enquiry: 3442 4835 or


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