The photomontages in this body of work depict an imagined, surreal world set somewhere in the mid-19th century American South. Created in the realm of historical fiction, these tableaux weave together the disparate, war-ravaged lives of generals and soldiers, women and children, freedmen and slaves, and civilians and clergy. The ghostly characters in these fabled scenes endure their bleak and tumultuous existence as they experience loss, fear, grief, death, and the hope for resurrection. The stories of their afterlives are ambiguous - disconnected from the particulars of history - and are constructed from a flawed and beautiful photography whose infancy coincided with the outbreak of a long and destructive war.
In creating these montages I combine selected pieces of historical images from the American Civil War with my own photographs. Each piece contains 30 or more layers which are digitally sized, blended and collaged into a single image. These large-scale pieces - informed by antiquated printing processes including the stereograph, the tintype and the wet plate collodion - are printed onto high gloss aluminum, giving them the haunting qualities of 19th century photography. The apocalyptic landscape and the symbolism of the iconography give reference to the titles, most coming from versus in the Book of Revelation.
My intent with this work is to create a series of vignettes capturing the lives of those trapped in a surreal, war-torn netherworld . These collaged scenes, created from three centuries of photography - explore a region that remains, in part, unwontedly bound to yesterday; a place whose present is as peculiar and as haunted as its past.
A selection from a recent review of this work by Dillon Raborn in Pelican Bomb, New Orleans, LA., August 21st, 2017:
Fictions have power, and presenting those fictions tangibly can open them to re-evaluation. Key to Knoxs photographs however, is the ambiguity of narrative in his alternatives histories, playing out in specific parameters. His specters with their blank expressions and hesitant comprehensions of their bizarre afterlives exist in a dystopian world somewhere between 1861 and 2017, which right now seems sadly more reflective of the present moment than we might wish.