Kathleen Knight has a talent for finding talent, and she loves sharing her discoveries at her gallery in the heart of downtown Nantucket. A walk up the steps at 4 India Street brings you into a world of exquisite glass sculptures and a collection of traditional and contemporary art like nothing else anywhere on our island.
Starting this Friday, August 7, The Gallery at Four India is hosting internationally acclaimed painter Giovanni DeCunto in an exhibition simply called America.
Knight was the first to exhibit DeCunto on Nantucket Island thirty years ago: “I first met Giovanni in 1990, and I fell in love with his work…it was inspiring, ahead of the times…” She hosted two solo shows for him in her gallery: one show on the American Flag and the second exhibiting his nautical flags in a pop style that no one else was painting at the time. “Today there are many artists painting the flag, but none as brilliant and powerful as Giovanni,” Kathleen commented.
Last winter she decided to call to see where his career had taken him and was excited to find out he was at the top of his field. “I was thrilled to hear the news, as I have over the years launched the careers of many up-coming innovative artists, such as Steampunk artist Bruce Rosenbaum and Upcycler Thomas Deininger. Bringing back Giovanni has been what makes this business so worth working hard for!”
Giovanni said he was very happy to hear from Kathleen: “I’m really excited, it’s been a long time since I’ve exhibited there. Hopefully, it will be part of my new routine.” He went on to describe himself as a “Global Expressionist” with a style that is from the Baroque Period influenced by Impressionists, culture, and humanity—a style the bridges the gap between the old and the new: “I threw away all my tools and paint directly onto the canvas to make my images… by eliminating the tools, I can give equal time on the canvas and keep the experience of painting pure to itself… be true to painting but bring it into this age, bring together the past, present, and future. It’s all about communication: paintings must have relevance to today to remain in the future.”
DeCunto also describes himself as “an American artist and a patriot,” and his paintings of the American flag are full of heart and uniquely inspiring. His work, created in an inimitable style that is gracefully poetic and visceral, mindful and intense, can be found in museums and private collections around the world. In 2016, he was awarded the key to the city of Lawrence, MA, where he was raised—an honor given only to two others: Robert Frost and Leonard Bernstein.
Not only is Kathleen Knight bringing Giovanni DeCunto back to her gallery on Nantucket, but she also spearheaded a charity auction and artists reception to benefit the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club. “The fundraiser was my suggestion,” she explained, “to give back and support the children of the future and Nantucket’s pride. It brings me joy when young artists visit the gallery and tell me about their artwork and what they love in the gallery.
“What excites me about his return to our island is to give artists who dream of having a successful career the opportunity to meet and speak to Giovanni, who has worked very hard to get where he is today. [To show them] there is a bigger world out there, to take the chance and paint outside the box and to never give up! I believe artists need patrons who listen and go beyond to help them establish themselves on- and off-island.
Specializing in contemporary and traditional fine art, Knight has dedicated her life to supporting artists and sharing their work. Her exhibition space presents a wide variety of dozens of artists from the USA and Europe. Her contemporary art glass collection is our island’s only source for stunning sculptures in crystal and glass.
“My goal has always to bring new and exciting exhibits to Nantucket…to broaden the minds of artists, collectors, and our museum. The world of art is my life, and I wouldn’t change one minute of my 45-year career of representing passionate, dedicated artists. Those who go beyond the same painting over and over. Those who push the struggle to finding their voice. It’s a very rewarding accomplishment to see artists become real!”
Giovanni DeCunto’s exhibit America will be on display in The Gallery at Four India through August. The Artists Reception and Charity Auction is held this Saturday, August 8, from 4:30 to 7 pm at 21 Broad Street.