Like neo-hippie nudists lost on LSD or maybe wicked woodland sprites, there are a bunch of naked teens frolicking through a nocturnal netherworld of forests, fields, and black-water ponds. The boys are hairless and pretty. The girls are similarly sexy but worldlier. Everyone wears a floral crown and a hard, wet-eyed look of wonder. It could be psychedelics, or it could be ethereal knowledge. But no one’s talking.
The new group of oil paintings by Toronto-based artist Kris Knight, “A Deadly Nightshade,” wanders through that interdimensional space between fact and fiction, dreams and nightmares, this world and the next. Snatching from French symbolism and Sturm und Drang, Knight’s ten canvases at Spinello Gallery depict mini-narratives in the brightly burning lives of misfit friends. They skinny-dip at midnight and hold secret ceremonies in caves. They live out there under cover of darkness.