Linnea Kniaz: Running Bond

22 Feb 2019 – 31 Mar 2019

Magenta Plains

New York
New York, United States


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Magenta Plains is pleased to present Linnea Kniaz: Running Bond, the artist’s first solo exhibition at Magenta Plains. Driven by an empirical approach, Kniaz's paintings, installations, and freestanding sculptures transgress inherent boundaries of objects, architecture, and form—drawing inspiration from multi-faceted artists like Anne Truitt and Ree Morton.

Kniaz’s shaped paintings emerge from observations experienced in the process of making and decisions about color, material, texture, and measurements are dictated by the haptics of her studio’s walls, floor, and corners. Momentary reactions to the creases and folds in large rolls of canvas are fostered into form. Surfaces are primed with white wall paint tinted with acrylic orange, red, blue, and yellow followed by small, painterly gestures and additional collaging.

The canvases are stretched over vinyl tubing and threaded with steel rods to build tension, resulting in distortions that ripple and push the canvas into developing irregular perimeters. Through this process, Kniaz’s physical actions engage material limits, creating sculptural problems for the artist to solve. The moments of near-structural failure reveal shadow lines and exposed staples—a suggestion of the hidden formwork and a willful precariousness.

Here, Kniaz’s highly specific palette references Alvar Aalto’s living room in his Experimental House in the Finnish countryside. The architect’s house is an aggregate of material testing, brick patterning, and composition. ‘Running Bond’ is a reference to the most common brick-laying pattern, a simple offset motif that structurally bonds the individual bricks together. In the case of Aalto’s house, ‘Running’ also describes the intuitive compositional process as one pattern runs into the next, or even in the way that ivy runs wild over a brick surface.

Kniaz’s sculptures are assemblages of readily available building materials: bricks, gutter downspouts, and steel rods painted stock beige colors such as Bone Linen, Heritage Cream, Light Maple, and Herringbone available from GutterSupply, a large Chicagoland distributor. An otherwise suburban colonial palette takes a distant cue from Scandinavian design’s influence on Midwestern architecture.

Kniaz’s whimsical and poetic paintings and sculptures illuminate playful inversions, repetitions, and rephrasings, emphasizing the spatial relationships between one artwork and another as well as the surrounding environment. As a result, hierarchy is blurred, creating an open ecology that provides the viewer with a subtle experience of gradual discovery.


Linnea Kniaz (b. 1988 Chicago, IL) earned an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (2016) and a BA with honors in visual art and art history from Skidmore College (2010). Kniaz has recently exhibited at Paula Cooper Gallery (New York, NY), Magenta Plains (New York, NY),  Vacancy LA (Los Angeles, CA), Human Resources (Los Angeles, CA), Torrance Shipman Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Mint Gallery, CalArts (Valencia, CA), Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY), Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, CA), and at The Jewish Museum, New York as part of In Response: The Arcades. She has also been included in shows at numerous project spaces in Brooklyn including Y2K Group, Greene & Nostrand, Helper Projects, Weekend Projects, and ZAX. Kniaz lives and works in New York, NY.

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