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Important Update

October 17, 2021 to May 8, 2022 | Opatrny Gallery Vestibule, Opatrny Gallery, Sound Gallery

Karla Knight: Navigator

Karla Knight has spent the last forty years creating an impressive body of work that spans painting, drawing and photography. Navigator, her first institutional solo show, will take the form of a focused survey, charting the development of her far-seeing language over a four-decade-long career.


Knight's imagery is steeped in science, the occult, early twentieth century abstraction, Surrealism and Native American art. Her visual language is purposefully impenetrable—she offers no clues or methods to its decoding. For her, its true meaning must remain unnamed, as it is ultimately inspired by “the mysteries and absurdities of life.” Her dense paintings and works on paper swirl with graphic shapes, diagrams, and ciphers that appear both archaic and spaced-aged. The exhibition will track the vast range and evolution of Knight’s pictographic lexicon—the spaceships, floating orbs, and eyeballs, as well as the hieroglyphic-like lists, charts, codes, alphabets, and other invented symbols—that embody these all-over compositions. Similar to the trailblazing abstract artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) and the far-sighted symbolist Agnes Pelton (1881–1961), Knight’s enigmatic image databank channels a passionate engagement with spiritual or nonphysical realms. The exhibition will also debut an entirely new series, featuring what Knight refers to as “tapestries.” Using reclaimed cotton cut from circa 1940s–50s seed and grain bags purchased on eBay, Knight sews pieces together to form a patchwork composition. Unstretched, she draws and paints directly on the surface with flashe, colored pencil, and graphite, while hand embroidering select sections.

The exhibition is curated by Senior Curator Amy Smith-Stewart and will be accompanied by the artist’s first museum publication.



Generous support for Karla Knight: Navigator is provided by The O'Grady Foundation, Patricia and Lawrence Kemp, Diana Bowes and James Torrey, Cynthia Smith, Kristina and Philip Larson, and Ann and Mathew Wolf. The catalogue for Karla Knight: Navigator is generously supported by the Eric Diefenbach and James Keith Brown Publications Fund and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation.

Media support is provided by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens (CTC&G).


Related Events

November 3, 2021 at 11:00 am | Public Programs

"Getting" Contemporary Art: Otherworldly Visions and Visions of Paradise

This class will take place over Zoom and includes a tour of Adrienne Elise Tarver: The Sun, the Moon, and the Truth and preview of Karla Knight: Navigator.

November 4, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Member Event

Drinks with the Director

Join The Aldrich’s Executive Director, Cybele Maylone, for a tour of the Museum’s current exhibitions followed by drinks on the terrace.

November 10, 2021 at 11:00 am | Public Programs

"Getting" Contemporary Art: Tour with Exhibiting Artist Karla Knight - SOLD OUT

Exhibiting artist Karla Knight will join the class for an in-person tour at the Museum of her exhibition Navigator, offering a personal look into her process and influences. This class will take place at The Aldrich and be accompanied by an art-making workshop in The Studio.

November 20 at 10:00 am to November 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm | Third Weekend, Free Admission

Third Weekends

Visit The Aldrich for free the third weekend of every month. See our current exhibitions and explore the Sculpture Garden.

November 27, 2021 at 1:00 pm | Children and Family Programs

“Crack the Code!” Karla Knight Family Workshop

Put on your detective hats and try to “crack the code” with this fun, puzzle-filled, family workshop in the galleries of Karla Knight: Navigator!

December 10, 2021 at 7:00 pm | Children and Family Programs

Virtual Holiday Cooking: Make a Fruit Fool!

Whip up a FRUIT FOOL dessert for the holidays in this fun-filled, kid-friendly virtual cooking class, guided by Aldrich Educator and chef Susie Buckley and inspired by the Museum’s current exhibitions.

December 18 at 10:00 am to December 19, 2021 at 5:00 pm | Third Weekend, Free Admission

Third Weekends

Visit The Aldrich for free the third weekend of every month. See our current exhibitions and explore the Sculpture Garden.

December 18, 2021 at 10:30 am | Children and Family Programs

Story Time for Little Ones: Interstellar Cinderella

Explore Karla Knight: Navigator in the Museum's galleries with a fun, family-friendly reading of Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, alongside Ridgefield Children’s Librarian Christie Barnett.

Related Products

Top image: Karla Knight, Fantastic Universe (More Than You Know), 2020–21. Courtesy of the artist.